Principles for writing good questions
There follows some advice on best practice for constructing some common question types.
Suggestions for writing good stems
- Present a single, definite statement to be completed or answered by one of the several given choices.
- Avoid unnecessary and irrelevant material.
- Use clear, straightforward language in the stem of the item. Questions that are constructed using complex wording may become a test of reading comprehension rather than an assessment of whether the student knows the subject matter.
- Use negatives sparingly. If negatives must be used, capitalise, underscore embolden or otherwise highlight.
- Put as much of the question in the stem as possible, rather than duplicating material in each of the options. (Gronlund 1988)