advantages and disadvantages of the multiple choice and gap filling tests

Tests are considered to be a more sophisticated and refined way of checking students’ knowledge. That’s why there are many kids of them, for example, gap-filling test, multiple choice test, “true and false” tests etc. Though there’s a great variety of tests, the research show that multiple choice tests, as well as gap-filling ones, are preferred by the students as well as professors over the other types.

Both multiple choice and gap-filling tests are a good way of diagnosing the progress of a student. Both of them are easy to complete and easy to check (machine-graded). But the advantages that have just been mentioned are not the only ones. So let us take a deeper and more profound look at them so we could analyze both the pros and cons.

Multiple-choice tests can also help control cheating, as the instructor is able to create multiple versions of the same test with different tasks. Also they can be done in pretty short periods of time, therefore these tests make it possible to ask a bigger number of questions, to cover a wider range of material.

For students of Elementary and Intermediate level these tests are can be as it sometimes happens that they are too ambiguous. If the child fails to interpret the given answer into the known and understandable to him words, he’ll fail the test, though the answer might be correct from his point of view. Though we should also say that children can guess the answer and the test will fail to check the knowledge of a student. Plus, essay tests require a higher level of organization while multiple tests don’t.  (1)

As to gap-filling exercises, they are easy to grade and relatively easy to complete. They are very effentive for Listening comprehension, though the teachers should remember that there can be many possible answers sometimes and that a child’s answer could still be correct, though it wasn’t what you expected it to be. So this can cause misunderstanding too and the evaluation can be slightly questioned.

This is all I think that should be mentioned about multiple choice tests and gap-filling ones. Though they might be not perfect but they are of a great help to teachers and students too.

Benjamin, L. T., Cavell, T. A., & Shallenberger, W. R. (1984). Staying with the initial answers on objective tests: Is it a myth? Teaching of Psychology, 11, 133-141.

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