Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Question Types

When creating skills assessments, it is important to include a range of question styles, so the user experience is varied and engaging.

Here is a list of different question types, which commonly feature in most skills assessments:

Multiple-choice questions usually have up to eight answer choices with only one correct answer.

Pick-list or Check box questions usually have up to ten answer choices. Two or more of these answer choices can be correct.

True or False questions have two answers, True and False, one of which is correct.

Fill in the blanks questions have statements with blanks in them. The test taker must type text in each blank as the answer.

Short answer or Free text questions require the test taker to type in an answer to the question.

Order list answers must be selected in a specific order or sequence.

Point and click or Hot spot questions contain a picture or some other form of media. The test taker must select a point on the picture or image.

Numeric question types are similar to Short answer questions but require numeric instead of text answers.

Likert questions allow you to design a question based on a scale of answers, i.e. 1-5 or 1-10. (NB this type of question is better suited to surveys than straight assessments).

Matching questions have a content area and a list of names or statements (List A) which must be correctly matched against another list of names or statements (List B). List B usually includes a number of 'distractor' answers.

Essays are useful for fact-based or critical thinking test items. Answers can be a word, phrase, sentence, paragraph or lengthy essay. Essay questions are scored manually.

For capturing skills gaps across a range of design and engineering software applications, KnowledgeSmart typically uses the following types:

  • Free text
  • Multiple-choice
  • Pick-list
  • Order list
  • True or False

Following on from a series of customer review meetings, we plan to include some new question types in the KS system this year:

  • Fill in the blank
  • Hot spot
  • Matching

We'll also look into whether firms would like added flexibility on the free text questions.  Up until now, we have gone with the approach that an answer is either right or wrong.  However, it is possible to tweak the marking routines, so that a test taker can receive credit for entering one of multiple variations/spellings/etc. of the answer.

One of the main advantages of our system is the automated marking routine.  For this reason, we avoid using essay-style questions in our assessments.  We combine Free text and Numeric question types in the KS system.


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