Multiple select questions

Multiple select questions in (digital) assessment

Numerous question types can be used in (digital) assessments and examinations. This includes the multiple-select question. When do you use this closed question type? And what are the unique characteristics of this question?

What is a multiple-select question?

Multiple select questions are a type of (digital) question in which the candidate can select multiple answer options from a list that are considered correct. So it is about selecting multiple answer options. This feature distinguishes the multiple-select question from a question where the candidate can select from only one answer option (the multiple-choice question).

Using a multiple-select question offers you extra possibilities in designing your ideal test. Namely, you can name multiple correct answers in the answer options. This can be useful if you want to link different sections in the course material. In addition, this allows you to cover more specific details within a question.

Example and scoring of multiple select questions

Let’s look at an example question of a multiple-select question.


Select all correct answers to the following question: What types of fruit are red in color?

Answer options

  1. Kiwi
  2. Banana
  3. Raspberries
  4. Strawberry


For this question type, you can give 1 point for each correctly completed answer. Does a candidate give a wrong answer? Then make sure you deduct (part of) a point from the score.


Offering different answer options within a closed question naturally has several advantages. These include:

  • Easy to analyze: a big advantage is that you can easily analyze and assess this question. After all, a (combined) answer is either right or wrong. This applies to several closed question types, by the way.
  • Detailed insights: with the multiple select questions, there are several possibilities for how the candidate answers the question. Thus, different answer options may often be chosen together. You can use this to gain detailed insights regarding the topic. Are there possible connections between the given options? For example, do candidates often choose ‘answer A’ together with ‘answer B,’ and why might that be?
  • Quick to answer: this question type has limited answer options. Candidates are, therefore, able to make quick decisions while taking the test. If you use digital testing software, they only spend a little time clicking on different options in the question. This is very easy with the multiple-select question. Changing answer options is also very easy.


The multiple-select questions have unique question features. A few disadvantages are listed below:

  • Limited depth: Multiple select questions offer limited information about the user’s answers. This is because the selected answer options do not provide in-depth information about the reasons behind the selections.
  • Test expert attention required: Creating multiple select requires time and attention to detail. This is because the test constructor must consider multiple correct answer options.
  • Risk of too difficult question: In multiple select questions, you may question different aspects of the lesson material. Therefore, ensure you frame the question correctly and do not make it too difficult.
  • Chance of response bias: The answers to multiple select questions can be influenced by response bias. Here the candidate selects certain answer options based on what he thinks is expected or accepted instead of what he thinks or feels.


  • Be clear: Ensure the options are clear and specific so that the candidate understands exactly what is being asked.
  • Avoid negative language: Avoid negative or limiting language in the question or options so that the candidate feels comfortable answering the question.
  • Consider complexity: Consider the complexity of the multiple select questions. It is essential to create questions that suit the candidate’s level.

Conclusion – Multiple select question in (digital) assessment

Using multiple select questions can be an effective tool within the digital assessment. However, it is important to make them clear, concrete, and specific. In addition, it is always a good idea to consider which question best suits your test issue. Would you like to know more about this? Optimum Assessment is your partner in digital assessment. Not only do we offer digital testing software, but we also help you with allround assessment support!

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