Question types: popularity and quality

Yacapaca has six question types, ignoring the numerous permutations. Which are the most popular with authors, and which tend to be the best-written? I recently ran an analysis of the 135,513 questions in the database.

More than half are straight multiple choice. Come on, folks – get more adventurous! Kids respond well to variety so you can improve the learning they get by mixing up the types of questions you use.

We measure the quality of each question in the database by looking at the proportion of passes to fails. The ideal question discriminates between those students who have ‘got it’ and those who have not, so we hope to see an average mark half way between perfect and random. That varies between question types: in a 4-option multiple choice, it would be 62.5%.

Different question types turn out to have somewhat different average qualities. The best are checkbox questions, and the worst multiple-choice cloze. Note, though, the scale on this graph. 59% and 67% are only 8% apart; it’s not that much.

I am now doing weekly online author training events – if you are a Yaquapacista you should already have had an invitation. One of the things I will be focusing on is different question types, and how to really get the best out of each.

Hope to see you there!


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