Investigating Multiple-Choice Assessment: Secondary School Teachers' Perceptions and Practices
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Multiple-choice assessment is used within nearly all levels of education and is often heavily relied upon within both secondary and postsecondary institutions in determining a student’s present and future success. Understanding why it is effective or ineffective, how it is developed, and when it is or is not used by teachers can further inform teachers’ assessment practices, and subsequently, improve opportunities for student success. Twenty-eight teachers from 3 secondary schools in southern Ontario were interviewed about their perceptions and use of multiple-choice assessment and participated in a single-session introductory workshop on this topic. Perceptions and practices were revealed, discussed, and challenged through the use of a qualitative research method and examined alongside existing multiple-choice research. Discussion centered upon participants’ perspectives prior to and following their participation in the workshop. Implications related to future assessment practices and research in this field of assessment were presented. Findings indicated that many teachers utilized the multiple-choice form of assessment having had very little teacher education coursework or inservice professional development in the use of this format. The findings also revealed that teachers were receptive to training in this area but simply had not been exposed to or been given the opportunity to further develop their understanding. Participants generally agreed on its strengths (e.g., objectivity) and weaknesses (e.g., development difficulty). Participants were particularly interested in the potential for this assessment format to assess different levels of cognitive difficulty (i.e., levels beyond remembering of Bloom’s revised taxonomy), in addition to its potential to perhaps provide equitable means for assessing students of varying cultures, disabilities, and academic streams.