Simple Versus Complex Stems in Multiple-choice Tests and their Effects on Students’ Performance

Nader Zarza, Nabeel Abedalazeez


Multiple-choice tests are used to assess learning outcomes in variety of disciplines. They are comprised from two main parts: stem and options (distractors). Stem, by conveying information and fore heading the problem to be answered plays a vital role in any multiple-choice test. Although there are large bodies of studies to design options in these kinds of tests, constructing stem items has received too little attention.  Accordingly, much of current debate in constructing test items revolves around designing and building proper multiple-choice test options. This study tries to investigate the effect of item stem structure on students’ performance in order to choose structure in designing stems in favor of students’ high performance.



Multiple-choice test, item-writing, stem

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