CorePlanner Blog


5 Steps for Writing Multiple Choice Questions

Today I thought I’d share some considerations I make when preparing assessments with multiple choice questions:

Step 1:  Criteria for success

- What does it mean to you that a student can understand the material?
- Is it labeling a diagram?
- Recognizing inclusive parts?
- Solving equations?
- Naming the appropriate scientific term?

Step 2:  Alignment

- Make sure that what you are teaching and how you are teaching matches what is on the test
- If the test is multiple choice, make sure students have worked with solving relevant multiple choice questions in class.
- Take formative data/dipsticks by requiring regular closed-notes exit tickets
- Explicitly teach students how to decode and answer multiple choice questions through:

 * Modeling
 * Think-alouds

Step 3:  Format


- The format of a test can make it more or less accessible to a student. Consider the following:

- Font
- Answer choices stacked vs. in two columns
- Answer choices always on same page as the question
- Three choices instead of four

Step 4:  Type of questions

- Make sure the type of question mirrors the type you have modeled in class
- Questions with answers like: all of the above/none of the above are very confusing for students with limited attention spans and fluency issues
- These students are often excited to know one answer and will circle it before reading to the choice of “all of the above”
- Think about what your criteria is for demonstrating understanding (step 1) and write the question in a way that aligns with that criteria

Step 5:  Hints

-  Little things like bolding, italics and underlining key words makes a big difference!



Choose:  3/4  

- Making sure any required formulas are available for reference on the page, if not embedded in the question
- Vocabulary reference section
- Add a section with vocab terms and their synonyms
- Add synonyms within question if there is a word the student may not understand

What tips can you share?


-¬‐ Annie Krut, M.Ed.

Annie is on a mission to teach kids the skills they need to be happy. She’s using neuroscience, the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards. Get the curriculum at and join the conversation on Twitter: @eighthugs