Very often, an organization wants to demonstrate the effectiveness of its training by administering some type of test at the end of the training. Unfortunately, most trainers are not adept at writing test questions. It is much more than simply writing 20 questions about content. You can skew the test results (and therefore get inaccurate feedback on the effectiveness of the training) if the test questions are not designed correctly.

In this third of three articles on designing appropriate test questions, we’ll look at matching questions and how best to design them.

Matching questions are somewhat easier to create than multiple-choice questions because they only require one correct answer for column “B” rather than the ‘several’ wrong answers required for multiple-choice questions.

Here are some guidelines for creating a match test that should ensure that you can accurately assess your students’ knowledge.

Never provide more than 15 matching questions; if you want to provide more, break them into parts of 15 (maybe they all have to do with the same concept). More than 15 really bogs down the process for the examinee. Soon enough, all the letters and numbers are swimming in front of your eyes; You will find that they accidentally reuse the same letters or don’t use any at all. Fifteen is a manageable number of options.

Please provide more answers in column “B” than in column “A”, but not many more. This makes the pairing process a bit more difficult for the examinee. Do not provide more than three additional options from column “B” or it will become too confusing for the examinee.

Alternatively, there may be fewer options in column “B” and more questions in column “A”. In this case, you should instruct the examinee to use the answers in column “B” as many times as appropriate.

Example: In column “A”, identify what type of store layout each named store uses. You can use the answers in column “B” more than once.

  A				  B

____ Home Depot			Grid

____ CVS			Racetrack

____ JC Penney			Boutique

____ Sears

____ Blockbuster

____ Shop Rite / Publix

As with multiple choice answers, you want to provide incorrect logical answers in column B. If you are creating a single question, be sure to provide a logical alternative, even if it does not fit any other possibility.

For example,

A compass always points _______, you must have the options of at least North and South in column “B”. If only north is provided, and there is only one question in column “A” that has to do with direction, the correct answer is obvious to the examinee.

Who knew creating quiz questions was such a big science! By applying the principles you just learned in this series of three articles, you will be able to create well-structured assessments at the end of the training that accurately test your students’ knowledge.

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