Objective and Subjective Measures and Multiple Choice Questions

Objective and Subjective Measures and Multiple Choice Questions

Discussion Question 1

Objective and Subjective Measures

Objective and Subjective Tests Questions

Before one decides to use a multiple choice or matching-list questions, one needs to take into consideration some basic elements; these can range from the kind of information you are trying to gather, to what one is willing to do in order to get the information. Questions can be objective or subjective.

Subjective test questions require human judgment to evaluate. They are sometimes called open-response questions because the exact form of the response is up to the learner (Taiwo, 1998). Subjective test questions are good for subjects without clear categories and ones that require finesse and judgment. They usually require a human being to evaluate the answer and provide feedback.

Objective questions are the ones with clear standards for correctness. They are also referred to as closed-response questions because the learner must select an answer from choices provided by the designer. Multiple choice questions are objective. Objective questions are good for mature subjects with established categories and well-accepted practices and principles (Taiwo, 1998). They can require subtle and sophisticated judgment, but they work best for questions with right-wrong answers.

Comparison betweenObjective and Subjective Tests Questions

Sources/Types of Measurement Most Commonly Used

Objective written test items include the following: short answer and completion, in which the learner supplies information; and true or false, matching and multiple choice, in which the learner selects and answer.

Subjective test items leave room for interpretation. They include: extended response or essay questions, restricted responses such as when the learner is asked to state two advantages or disadvantages of using static stretches versus using PNF stretches.

Situations in Which Objective and Subjective Tests QuestionsWould be usedover the other or a Combination of the Two

Subjective tests are more apposite when the group on which the test is to be administered is small in size and the test is not to bereused, when the tester desires to inspire and reward the development and promotion of student dexterity in writing, when the tester is more concerned in exploring or investigating the students attitudes than in assessing his/her achievement(Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, 2014).

Objective tests are apt in situations where the group to be assessed is relatively large and the test may be re-administered, when there is a need to obtain as efficiently as possible extremely reliable test, when the tester is interested in safeguarding impartiality in test evaluations, absolute objectivity in marking, as well as freedom from likely test scoring influences.

Both objective test and subjective tests can be applied to assess any significant educational achievement a written assessment can measure, and can also be used to test a student’s competence to work out problems or think critically (Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, 2014).

Value of the Data

Data obtained from subjective test questions is usually referred to as subjective data. It results from an individual’s personal opinion or judgment. Objective data on the other hand are external to the mind, and concerns facts and the precise measurement of things or concepts that actually exists. Both forms of data can be qualitative or quantitative in nature.

Strengths and Weaknesses Related To Scoring and Interpreting the Results

When it comes to scoring, Objective test questions areconsidered to be the best test instruments to produce highly reliable test scores, and which have been obtained as efficiently as possible.

In terms of relevance, subjective tests items are appropriate when learners are expected to produce the correct information themselves. Subjective questions are suitable for testing a broad range of learning tasks from low-level objectives such reproduction of a memorized definition, to objectives using multiple, high-level skills such as analyzing a problem, applying complex concepts to find a solution and organizing  an explanation and defense of that conclusion. Conversely, objective test items are not appropriate for every learning objective. They are generally suitable when the objective calls for selecting or identifying correct information.

In terms of time and effort, subjective test items are easier to write than objective items. The decision making process of grading  is time consuming, as is writing a detailed answer key to ensure that tests are graded using the same criteria. On the other hand, good objective test items are difficult to write and take a lot of thought, however, once they are developed, they can be administered by one person, and are easy to correct. They can even be corrected by a machine or by an assistant unfamiliar with the subject matter.

With regards to cost, the cost of development of subjective tests is generally low, however, grading costs are higher since only instructors or subject matter experts can grade them. On the other hand, the main expense of using objective tests is in the initial development. But once developed the test items can be reused with minimal cost.

General Limitations of Each Type

One key limitation of subjective tests is that there is every likelihood that the grades given to a particular answer by two different testers or the same tester marking the answer twice at different periods may not tally. Another limitation is that it may be assessing the ability of the tested to communicate effectively in the language of the examination, and if the primary purpose of such an examination is to assess say, the science knowledge of the tested, then such an examination would probably not be the best method of evaluation.

Objective tests are generally criticized for superficiality which has to do with broad coverage of content area at the expense of depth in addition to its amenability to guess work. However, it is worth noting that skillful construction of objective test items could reduce the question of superficiality to its barest minimum, and guessing, as one of the demerits of objectives tests could be curtailed by the use of the correction formula for guessing(Taiwo, 1998).


All said and done, subjectivetests are commonly used in the school system because their strengths and all the identified shortcomings of the tests could easily be taken care of by skillful testers.


Discussion Question 2

Assessment Design Group Project: Multiple Choice Questionnaires


A multiple choice question is made up of a stem, distractors, and the correct answer. A stem refers to the body of the question before the choices are presented; the distractors refer to incorrect responses, and the correct answer which is also referred to as the key.A good stem should be phrased in clear language, and double negatives or obscure terminologies should be avoided. It should emphasize on important ideas, events, or individuals, not trivia. Additionally, the same number of responses should be used in any group of questions and the responses should be similar in formats, length, and grammar, and no unnecessary complications should be introduced for the students(Brinkley, et al., 2011).

A multiple choice item can be constructed in four varieties.  According to Somashekar (2012), these are Best Answer; where the responses are correct to a certain degree of correctness, but the best answer possesses a higher degree of correctness.The student is asked to select the best answer; Analogy Type, where the student is required to deduce the relationship that exists between the first two parts of an item and then apply it to the third and fourth parts; the Reserve Type, here the student is asked to select the incorrect response.it isalso referred to as the negative variety type; and finally the One Correct Answer, this is the simplest multi-choice item. The student is required to select the correct answer listed among several plausible, but incorrect options.

Multiple Choice Questionnaires
1. Who is considered the father of economics?(clear stem)
a. Adam smith (correct response choice)
b. John Maynard Keynes
c. Milton Friedman
d. David Ricardo

2. Which of these developments is most closely associated with Alfred Marshall?(clear stem)
a. The introduction of time into economic analysis (correct response choice)
b. the theory of comparative advantage
c. the development of general equilibrium analysis
d. the theory of comparative advantage

3. Thorsten Veblen thought that the capitalist system should be replaced with ____.(clear stem)
a. a dictatorship of the proletariat
b. a technocracy (correct response choice)
c. syndicalism
d. fascism

4. Who wrote the famous book “the wealth of nations?” (clear stem)
a. Franco Modigliani
b. Milton Friedman
c. James Tobin
d. Adam smith(correct response choice)

5. Which of the following economists is famous for having stressed the fact that supply curves and demand curves become more elastic in response to a disturbance to the equilibrium, the more time people have to adjust?(clear stem)
a. William Stanley Jevons
e. Alfred Marshall (correct response choice)
b. Leon Walras
c. Edward Hastings Chamberlin


Brinkley, A., El-Fakahany, E. E., Dessants, B., Flamm, M., Forcey, C. B., & Ouellett, M. L. (2011). The Chicago Handbook for Teachers, Second Edition: A Practical Guide to the College Classroom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning. (2014, May 5). Improving Your Test Questions, Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, University of Illinois. Retrieved from University of Illinois: cte.illinois.edu/testing/exam/test_ques.html
Somashekar, T. V. (2012). EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY & EVALUATION. Sapna Book House (P) Ltd.
Taiwo, A. A. (1998). Fundamentals of Classroom Testing. Vikas Publishing House Pvt Ltd.

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