Multiple select questions

Multiple select questions in (digital) assessment

There are numerous question types you can use within (digital) assessment and examination. So is the multiple select question. When do you deploy this closed question format? And what are the unique features of this question?

What is a multiple select question?

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

Using a multiple select question gives you additional options in designing your ideal assessment. In fact, 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 together. This allows you to address more specific details within a question.

Example and score distribution of a multiple select question

Let’s look at a sample multiple select question.


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

Answer options

  • A. Kiwi
  • B. Banana
  • C. Raspberries
  • D. Strawberry

Score Distribution

With this question type, you can choose to give 1 point for each correctly completed answer. Does a candidate give an incorrect answer? Then be sure to take one (part of a) point off the score.


Offering several answer options within a closed-ended question has several advantages, of course. Examples include:

  • Easy to analyze: a major advantage is that you can easily analyze and assess this question type. After all, a (combined) answer is either right or wrong. This is true for several closed question types, by the way.
  • Detailed insights: in the multiple select question, there are several possibilities of how the candidate answers the question. Thus, different answer options may often be chosen together. You can use this to gain a detailed understanding regarding the topic. Are there possible connections between the particular options? Do candidates often choose “answer A” along with “answer B,” and how might that be?
  • Quick to answer: this question type has a limited number of answer options. Candidates are thus able to make quick decisions while taking the assessment. If you use digital assessment software, they also don’t spend a lot of time clicking on different options in the question. Indeed, this is very easy with the multiple select question. Changing answer options, if necessary, is also easily done.


The multiple select question has unique question properties. Some disadvantages are listed below:

  • Limited depth: Multiple select questions provide limited information about the user’s answers. Indeed, the selected response options do not provide in-depth information about the reasons behind the selections.
  • Assessment expert attention required: preparing multiple select requires time and attention to detail. This is because the assessment constructor must consider multiple correct answer options.
  • Risk of too difficult a question: A multiple select question allows you to question different aspects of the lesson material. Therefore, be sure to set the question at the right level and not make it too difficult.
  • Chance of response bias: Responses to multiple select questions may be affected by response bias. Here the candidate selects certain answer options based on what he thinks is expected or accepted rather than what he really thinks or feels.


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

Conclusion – Multiple select question in (digital) assessment

The use of multiple select questions can be an effective tool within digital assessment. However, it is important to make them clear, concrete and specific. It is always good to critically consider which question type best suits your assessment issue. Want to know more about this? Optimum Assessment is your partner in digital assessment. Not only do we offer digital assessment software, we also help you with expert assessment guidance!

Related Content

Find quick answers