Search Results for: multiple choice

Research on multiple choice questions

Since my last posts on multiple choice questions (here and here), Kris Boulton and Joe Kirby have pointed me in the direction of Robert Bjork’s work on remembering and forgetting. Here’s an extract from a paper titled ‘Multiple-Choice Tests Exonerated, at Least of Some Charges: Fostering Test-Induce…

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Validity and reliability

This is part two of my summary of Daniel Koretz’s book Measuring Up: What Educational Testing Really Tells Us. Part one, How useful are tests?, is here. Part three, Why teaching to the test is so bad, is here. Validity and reliability Koretz gives the clearest and fullest explanations I’ve read of w…

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Multiple choice questions, part two

In my previous blog post I gave an example of what I thought was an excellent multiple choice question, taken from the British Columbia leaving exam. It’s as follows: 15. How did the Soviet totalitarian system under Stalin differ from that of Hitler and Mussolini? A. It built up armed forces. B. It…

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Principled Assessment Design by Dylan Wiliam

Back in 2013 I wrote a lengthy review of Measuring Up by Daniel Koretz. This book has had a huge influence on how I think about assessment. Last year I read Principled Assessment Design by Dylan Wiliam, which is equally good and very helpful for anyone looking to design a replacement for national cu…

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When is student choice a good idea?

When is student choice a good idea? Here’s an extract from a document from the Scottish Curriculum, on best practice in maths teaching. Children were asked about ways the school could improve learning in mathematics. Most children felt that they wanted more time to talk about what they were learning…

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Comparative judgment: 21st century assessment

In my previous posts I have looked at some of the flaws in traditional teacher assessment and assessments of character. This post is much more positive: it’s about an assessment innovation that really works. One of the good things about multiple-choice and short answer questions is that they offer v…

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Intelligence Squared debate: Don’t end the tyranny of the test

On Thursday I spoke at an Intelligence Squared debate called ‘Let’s end the tyranny of the test: relentless school testing demeans education’. Together with Toby Young, I spoke against the motion; Tony Little and Tristram Hunt spoke for it. There were a number of important points of agreement betwee…

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Tests are inhuman – and that is what is so good about them

One of the frequent complaints about tests is that they are a bit dehumanising. Every pupil is herded into an exam hall, there to answer exactly the same questions. The questions they answer are often rather artificial ones, stripped from real-world contexts and on occasions placed in formats, such…

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Closed questions and higher order thinking

I know that Andrew Old often writes about the way that open questions are often, wrongly, seen as superior to closed questions – ie, it’s seen as being better to ask pupils questions that have lengthy answers and many possible answers rather than those that only have one straightforward right answer…

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How do bad ideas about assessment lead to workload problems?

This is part 7 of a series of blogs on my new book, Making Good Progress?: The future of Assessment for Learning. Click here to read the introduction to the series. Bad ideas can cause workload problems. If you have a flawed understanding of how a system works, the temptation is to work harder to tr…

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What do exams and opinion polls have in common?

A lot. Daniel Koretz, Professor of Education at Harvard University, uses polls as an analogy to explain to people how exams actually work. Opinion polls sample the views of a small number of people in order to try and work out the views of a much larger population. Exams are analogous, in that they…

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Making Good Progress?: The future of Assessment for Learning

In February, my second book is going to be published by Oxford University Press. It’s called Making Good Progress?: The future of Assessment for Learning.  It is the assessment follow-up to my first book, Seven Myths about Education, which was about education more generally. In Seven Myths about Edu…

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Replacing national curriculum levels

Life beyond levels? Life after levels? Life without levels?  Lots of teachers, senior leaders and academics have come up with some interesting ideas for what should replace national curriculum levels. Here’s a summary of some of those ideas. Michael Fordham is a former history teacher and now works…

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English Mastery: Writing an evidence-based curriculum

  My experience of English Mastery In 2013 I started working at Ark Schools, a network of academy schools based in London, Birmingham, Portsmouth and Hastings. Part of my job was to develop Ark’s new English Mastery curriculum. I was part of a team with Amy McJennett, who joined at the same tim…

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Assessment alternatives 2: using pupil work instead of criteria

In my last few blog posts, I’ve looked at the problems with performance descriptors such as national curriculum levels. I’ve suggested two alternatives: defining these performance descriptors in terms of 1) questions and 2) example work. I discussed the use of questions here, and in this post I’ll d…

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Updated: Guide to my posts about assessment

I first wrote this post back in September 2015 and have updated it in June 2016. Over the last three years, I have written a number of posts about assessing without levels. Here’s a guide to them. First of all, what were the problems with national curriculum levels that led to them being abolis…

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New report by the Sutton Trust: What Makes Great Teaching

Today the Sutton Trust and the University of Durham have published a fascinating new report called What Makes Great Teaching? It sets out to answer that title question, as well as looking at ways we can measure great teaching, and how that could be used to promote better learning. Here is my short s…

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Educational Politics Part II

In my last post, I referred to a great post by Andrew Old where he uses a quadrant to clarify a common misconception in educational debates. I have drawn up a quadrant to represent something similar. As with Andrew, my x axis represents content. But my y axis represents not entitlement, but school s…

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In defence of norm-referencing

A couple of weeks ago Ofqual published their consultation on new GCSE grades. A lot of the media debate has focussed on the new 1-9 grading structure, but tucked away in the consultation document there is a lot of very interesting information about how examiners make judgments. I’ve written before o…

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Reforming league tables

In my last post, I blogged about how league tables are neither the problem nor the solution. They do have some value, however. Teachers will tell you they are flawed, and we are right to do so. But they do give some information. I was speaking to a friend recently who is a teacher and also a new par…

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My top 10 education books of 2018

In no particular order… Learning How to Learn by Barbara Oakley, Terrence Sejnowski and Alistair McConville This book is a fun, witty and very, very practical summary of how we learn, and how we can learn better. Oakley and Sejnewoski are the creators of the world’s most successful onlin…

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How to remember anything, forever: the secret history

The best part of researching my new book, Teachers vs Tech, was getting to read a lot more about memory. Not just the academic research on memory – although this was fascinating – but the practical attempts by real people to come up with systems to improve their long-term memory and remember things…

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