Can free-response questions be approximated by multiple-choice equivalents?

Shih Yin Lin, Chandralekha Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


We discuss a study to evaluate the extent to which free-response questions can be approximated by multiple-choice equivalents. Two carefully designed research-based multiple-choice questions were transformed into a free-response format and administered on the final exam in a calculusbased introductory physics course. The original multiple-choice questions were administered in another, similar introductory physics course on the final exam. Our findings suggest that carefully designed multiple-choice questions can reflect the relative performance on the free-response questions while maintaining the benefits of ease of grading and quantitative analysis, especially if the different choices in the multiple-choice questions are weighted to reflect the different levels of understanding that students display.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)624-629
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Physics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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