Wednesday, March 08, 2006

This is not a test. Don't -- I repeat, DON'T -- answer it

My classes are large, so I mostly use multiple-choice tests. One day, being one question short of a nice round number, I used this question: "The answer to this question is D. Be sure to mark D on your answer sheet." The offered choices were: (A) This is the wrong answer. (B) This is the wrong answer. (C) This is the wrong answer. (D) This is the correct answer. Be sure to mark it on your answer sheet. (E) This is the wrong answer.

About 20% of the students got it wrong. One possibility is that they couldn't read any English. Another is that they didn't care. But one student had the courage to admit that he always marked B for every answer (true, that's what he did) in hopes that all the answers were B.

From this post in the blog Rate Your Students. [Link via Sean Carroll.]


  1. Anonymous said...

    You mean multiple-guess tests? ;-)

    Maybe 25 percent picked all their answers randomly, and out of that pool, 20 percent randomly chose D.

    Very strange.

    One test as an undergrad, one of my classmates said he studied last years test, and 20 of the 25 questions were on it. He got 5 wrong.