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Use of different closed question types

Use of different closed question types

When developing a digital test it is important to choose the right question form(s). We are all familiar with different types of question forms, such as open and closed questions. But there are also all kinds of variations imaginable. The question you ask depends on the knowledge, insights and skills the candidate needs to acquire. In this blog we look at the usefulness and use of different closed question types.

Question types

Open questions

Open questions are used more to ascertain the opinion or train of thought of the candidate. The candidate can provide a lot of detailed information in the answer.

Closed questions

When asking a closed question, the correct answer is among the answer options. This allows you to ask very specific questions. You use this form of question when you are looking for a concrete answer. These questions are automatically checked during digital testing, which saves a considerable amount of time. See Table 1 for an overview of all the different closed question types.

Table 1: different closed question types
Multiple choice question Single hotspot question Single entry question
Multiple select question Multiple hotspot question Multiple entry question
Option list question Numerical entry question Ranking question
Drag-and-drop question Matching question/Matrix question Video hotspot question

For a brief explanation of the different closed question types, see the end of the blog.

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Advantages of using different question types

Do you have to use all kinds of questions to make an interesting exam? No, certainly not! Candidates often do not care whether or not the exam is ‘boring’ in the eyes of the developer. To them, passing is more important than ‘fun’. However, the points below are relevant reasons to start using different question types.

  1. Sometimes it is also difficult to formulate a good multiple choice question. The problem may be that you give too much away in the answers. Or that formulation quickly becomes too complicated. Using a variety of question types is the best way to measure what you need to measure, in an efficient way.
  2. In addition to the above reason of assessment, there is another important factor: it is so much more fun for the developer of the questions! Variation and question forms challenge you and allow you to work much more creatively.
  3. No matter how effective and popular they are, multiple choice questions sometimes invite the candidate to gamble. To reduce this risk you can use other types of questions. See also the example below.

A ranking question, for example, is very suitable for correctly indicating an order in a step-by-step plan. If you have to measure this with a multiple choice question, it requires a lot more reading becomes a bit of a puzzle. In addition, this somewhat reduces the gambling chance. In the example below, the candidate is required to place four elements in the correct order. The odds of getting the right answer ‘by chance’ are significantly lower.

Multiple choice question
What is the correct sequence in steps of method X?
  • 1. a, d, c, b
  • 2. d, b, c, a
  • 3. d, c, b, a
  • 4. c, a, b, d

 

Ranking question
Put the steps of method X in the correct order.
  • a
  • b
  • c
  • d

 

Equivalence of questions

Note that the question types do not have to be equal to each other. One question can be much more elaborate (with more good answers), than the other question. In that case, the probability scores (see: ‘What is a probability score?’) are different. Still, you want every candidate to have a comparable exam and thus have the same probability of passing the exam. This is difficult if you want to use the question types interchangeably in an exam or itembank. You can solve this by making questions with not too many options. This also ensures that the required time per question does not vary too much and that the objectivity is guaranteed. Also set standards per question form; what is the maximum number of alternatives? Is there also a minimum?

In order to further promote the equivalence of questions, you can choose to use partial scoring. The candidate does not have to have the entire question right to be able to score points. A part of the maximum score can be obtained by giving a partly correct answer.

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What is a probability score?

The probability score is the score a candidate can achieve, if he chooses/guesses the correct answer, but does not know the answer. In a sense, the candidate is ‘gifted’ this score. For closed questions, the probability score is greater than 0. For multiple choice questions with four alternatives it is 0.25% and with three alternatives 0.33% of the total score for the question in question. For a question that allows you to score 1 point, the probability score is 0.25 and 0.33, respectively.

Overview closed question forms

Have you also become enthusiastic about the use of different question types and the equivalence of questions? See below for a complete overview of different (digital) question types. Would you like to know more? Then contact us.


Multiple choice

Here, one answer has to be selected from the answers offered.

Multiple select question

Here, one answer has to be selected from the answers offered. Here, multiple answers can be selected from the options offered.

Option list question

Here, one answer has to be selected from the answers offered. A text fragment contains pull-down menus from which the candidate chooses the correct answer.

Single hotspot question

Here, one answer has to be selected from the answers offered. An answer can be entered by clicking on the correct location within the image, where an arrow will appear.

Examples of application: geography, understanding photos and illustrations about a certain subject.

Multiple hotspot question

Multiple answers can be entered by clicking on the correct locations within the image. Examples of application: geography, understanding photos and illustrations about a certain subject.

Video hotspot question

Here, one answer has to be selected from the answers offered. This question type contains a video that has to be clicked on at the right moment.

Examples of application: indicate moment in a conversation, indicate moment when something special happens or something goes wrong.

Ranking question

Here, one answer has to be selected from the answers offered. The answer options (text or images) must be put in the correct order.

Examples of application: methods, techniques, procedures.

Drag-and-drop question

Objects (text or images) must be dragged to the right places within an image or table.

Examples of application: names of flowers with pictures of flowers, what belongs to what.

Matching/matrix question

This question consists of a number of rows and columns, where the candidate puts crosses in the correct row/column.

Example of application: indicate the presence or absence of a certain characteristic of each term.

Numerical question

Here, one answer has to be selected from the answers offered. An answer can be entered in the form of a number.

Example of application: calculate mortgage interest, sales tax, profit.

Single-entry question

Here, one answer has to be selected from the answers offered. An answer, in the form of a short text or a single word, can be entered in the input field.

Example of application: questions for which the correct answer would be obvious when used in a multiple choice question.

Multiple entry question

Here, one answer has to be selected from the answers offered. Multiple answers, both textually and numerically, can be entered in the offered input fields.

Example of application: questions for which the correct answer would be obvious when used in a multiple choice question, calculations.

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