Writing Multiple Choice Questions to Assess Synthesis

 Here are some tips to consider when writing Multiple Choice Test Questions to assess Bloom’s learning objective, Synthesis (Bloom and Krathwohl, 1956.)

The learning objective synthesis follows on from the candidate's ability to analyse information. When a candidate synthesizes information, whilst they need to have the ability to collapse the material into parts – they then need to take these parts and form them into something new.  

  • When writing a multiple choice question to test synthesis, some of the key words you may use to shape your questions are predict, propose, improve and adapt.
  • Multiple choice questions are not usually the chosen question type to test the learning objective synthesis however it is possible to create an effective question, allowing the candidates to demonstrate their ability to synthesize information. The clearest way to structure a multiple choice question for this purpose is to present a situation in the stem of the question which clearly highlights the problem or idea. 

After demonstrating the situation, present the candidate with the question. This should allow them to create something new from this information.  

After creating the stem, present the student with several plausible answers.

Note: The purpose of these articles is to provide you with general advice in the fields of assessment and testing. These articles are not intended to replace any regulations or instructions provided by your organisation, but may be used in conjunction with these materials to support the assessment process.

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