MCQ defines Multiple Choice Question which is a type of assessment in which the aspirants, students or candidates for a particular examination are asked to select the best and most possible answer out of the choices given from a list of several possible answers.
On this list of possible answers, there is only one correct answer that the candidate has to select.
These multiple-choice questions are also called objective type questions.
MCQ is the most popular and highly used examination type in educational testing, in market research as well as in election where the person selects one option of multiple parties, policies or candidates.
History of MCQ
Benjamin D. Wood developed this multiple choice question test but E. L. Thorndike is known to develop an early scientific approach to test students.
The popularity of the MCQ method increased in the mid 20th century when data processing machines and scanners were developed to check the result of the examination.
On a Sharp Mz 80 the computer, Christopher P. Sole invented the first multiple-choice examination for computers in 1982.
This technique was developed to aid people with dyslexia to cope with agricultural subjects. Latin plant named were difficult to understand and write. Later the first complete examination was created at St Edward School in Romsey, England.
Structure of MCQ
The multiple-choice question paper has a structure that consists of a stem and several alternative answers.
Here the stem is the opening which is a problem to be solved, an incomplete statement to be completed or just an asked question.
It has some possible answers as options and a correct answer among all that is called a key. Every other incorrect answer besides the key is called distracts.
The correct answer gives a number of points to the examinee while the incorrect answer gets nothing or in some cases multiple time choosing the wrong answer decreased the number got from correct answers that are called negative marking.
The stem can be longer in some cases and can consist of other information such as a vignette, a graph, a case study, a paragraph, table, detail description etc.
The items in multiple-choice question paper are referred to as Questions however most of the items or information in the question section are not question phrases. They can be described as incomplete statements, mathematical equations or analogies.
Benefits of MCQ
MCQ type of examination made the exams process easier. Here are the common benefits MCQ brought in the educational system –
- MCQ can be a much more effective technique if items are quality assured
- Other tests require much time for written Responses while the MCQ test requires less time to administer for a particular material.
- Multiple choice questions developed objective assessment items
- Candidates are graded entirely on their knowledge and not based on other irrelevant factors such as handwriting and presentation.
- The given answers are relied upon with clarity.
- Multiple choice question papers are the best and strongest predictors of the overall student or candidate performance.
Downfalls of MCQ
These are some disadvantages of multiple-choice question testing –
- MCQ test does not assess a wide range of knowledge but limited types of knowledge.
- MCQ does not assess problem-solving and higher-order reasoning skills.
- MCQ tests only analyse well-defined or lower-order skills.
- Multiple Choice Question test can be ambiguous in the examinee’s interpretation of the item or question.
- In the MCQ examination even if a student is incapable of answering a particular question but select a random answer that gets correct so he still gets marks for it.
- Negative marking is a difficult method for students in multiple-choice question examination.
- Ambiguous question phrases can confuse the test taker in the MCQ test.
Changing answers in MCQ
Some researches say that the theory that the students should trust their first instinct and stay with that answer on an MCQ test is a myth and there is nothing bad to change the answer in fact it has resulted in higher test score of the candidates. Studies have shown that the percentage of right to wrong changes is 20.2 while the percentage of wrong or right is 57.8 that is nearly three times extra.
That is why researchers have found that it is a good idea to change an answer after an addition revision describes that a better choice can be made however the possibility of a right to the wrong which is just 20.2 percent can be more painful.
Some other famous full form of MCQ-
MCQ- Minimum Container Quantity- in Business
MCQ- Medical Care Quality- in the medical field
Similar full form
SSC full form