Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Trinity Menu Trinity Search

You are here Resources > Assessment Online

Covid-19:  Using Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) as an alternative assessment tool.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) can be an effective and efficient way to assess learning outcomes.  Consider the following when integrating them into your assessment practice:

  1. Pedagogy: the use of MCQs should be pedagogically sound.
  2. Learning outcomes: assessments must be aligned to learning outcomes. Always start with learning outcomes (programme or module) and consider how students can demonstrate their achievement of the learning outcomes through MCQs. 
  3. Feasibility: MCQs are readily adaptable to online assessment practices.
  4. Higher order thinking: questions should be designed to focus on higher order thinking skills (application, analysis and evaluation) where possible. MCQs can be more easily used to assess lower order thinking (recall, remember).
  5. Question design: questions should be both precise and concise.
  6. Layout of questions: this should be consistent across all questions in an MCQ set. Correct answers should be distributed/randomised across answer options, e.g. not all correct answers should be in position ‘a’.
  7. Suitability: MCQs are best used in combination with other forms of assessment.
  8. Delivery: if using MCQs as a section of an online examination, consider the use of ‘adaptive release’ to reduce the risk of plagiarism.

Multiple Choice Questions for Online Assessment (PDF 563KB) / Multiple Choice Questions for Online Assessment (Word Doc 329KB)