Dec 8, 2008

Monday: I Like Multiple Choice Tests

It’s pretty much finals week which I know some people really, truly dread. Fortunately I’m not one of those people. Probably cause most of the classes I take are cake compared to what everyone else is taking (we played with play-doh in my management class on Monday). Also I enjoy finishing things, going in there and dropping a paper or presentation off, or taking a test and realizing I never have to remember any of this information again. Because later on people are going to give me a piece of paper that will explain that I knew this stuff at one point in my life and people will believe it (it’s called a degree). But I think the main reason I’m not that freaked out about finals is cause I actually enjoy taking tests, especially multiple choice tests.

I’m a relatively good test taker. I once read that all tests are geared towards middle income Caucasian males for some reason. I’m not really sure how accurate that is but I’ll bite (plus it gives everyone else an explanation for their hatred of tests).
So as finals come up I actually get kind of excited to take these tests, (as long as they’re multiple choice, none of the short answer nonsense). I mean I just have to go in there and pick one of 4 answers. Every question is like a mini mystery. You have some clues that you remember from that one time you opened the book. Also if you’re lucky the test will give you more clues like

#5 which of these ideas is not one of porter’s 5 forces:
  • A: Competition
  • B: Substitutes
  • C: Customers
  • D: Planning
And then a little later:

#12 competition, substitutes, customers, new entrants, and suppliers make up what?
  • A: SWOT analysis
  • B: Porter’s 5 forces
  • C: Cognitive analysis
  • D: Elasticity
Questions like that are like a special present from the teacher that says “ I know I probably didn’t cover this material like I was supposed to, please figure this out so the class’s test scores don’t completely torpedo my chance at being back for the spring semester”. Although sometimes you get one of those teachers who enjoys putting tests together, maybe they’ve been doing it awhile and gotten bored or something, but the give you this nightmare test that always starts with the instructions Please choose the answer that is most correct……… Did you catch that? “most correct”. In my experience these tests come from teachers whose classes ran pretty slim on the material they had to cover, so they just kept teaching similar ideas with new names. But the tests they wrote were creatively convoluted, such as:
Please choose the answer that is most correct

#17 which of the following is a primary color?



  • A. I and III
  • B. I, III, IV and sometimes V
  • C. II, IV, not V
  • D. Just I and V
  • E. There is no correct answer
Tests like this are the product of a sadistic mind, (*cough* Professor Nifakr *cough* *cough*). Still like I said, you can’t discount the creativity that went into that.

The thing I like most about MC tests though is that they’re black and white. On a day to day basis I like to operate in the gray area, but as far as relying on someone else to judge me, the simplicity of black and white can’t be beat. I could relate this to how Jesus explained to us how we are in the black, absolute black without him, no matter what, and how much I appreciate that, but I feel like that’s a somewhat cheap exclamation of that particular appreciation. So I’ll just throw it out and you can process it yourself or dismiss.

So yea, multiple choice tests, when I get old and retire and am teaching a bunch of kids at the local community college, I’ll be using them. Cause they reward intuition, risk taking, and occasionally the kid who didn’t study at all but didn’t give up because they knew with the MC test, there is a chance they could get a 100%. It's exciting like playing the lottery.

1 comment:

  1. I talked to Chris's Mom once, cuz she use to be a professor in the linguistics department at ASU. She said multiple choice tests were the easiest to grade but the hardest to do well on. There's no wiggle room. I love essays, Where you make-up stuff and throw in stuff you know and maybe stuff you didn't think you knew. I use to do amazing at those. As long as the professor/TA didn't care about spelling or grammer. Besides, I feel like it shows a better view on whether you grasped the information or not. But that was only for the classes I cared about. Other then that, grab me one of those scan trans.