By Stephanie Naoum

Instructors often use the rich data from TurningPoint’s Results by Question report to closely evaluate student learning. However, this feature also holds the key to unlocking valuable insights that can help you refine questions and improve the efficacy of your assessments.

The Results by Question report displays the following:

  • Question text
  • Question type
  • Answer choices
  • Responses (percentage and count)
  • Chart

Incorrect multiple-choice options, or distractors, are designed to distract your students from the correct answer. Strong distractors are plausible, meaning your students should not know immediately that the distractor is incorrect. When the distractors are not plausible, the odds of students guessing increase.

This report quickly draws your attention to weak distractors, or questions that have a limited number of responses for incorrect answers.

Let’s take a look at an example:

As these results show, your students most likely eliminated options A and D right away. Now, they have a 50/50 chance of getting the question correct just by guessing. With poor distractors, a four-option question item is reduced to a two-option question item. Even students who may not know the correct answer will get it correct. This invalid information is misleading to you as an instructor.

After revealing these weaknesses, you can now focus on adjusting the answer options to make the question more meaningful. Think back to when the content was first introduced. What were some common student mistakes or misconceptions? Incorporating these as distractor answers will make a weak question stronger and ensure that your students get the most out of every question.