Multiple-choice question tests: a convenient, flexible and effective learning tool? A case study

Mercedes Douglas, Juliette Wilson, Sean Ennis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The research presented in this paper is part of a project investigating assessment practices, funded by the Scottish Funding Council. Using established principles of good assessment and feedback, the use of online formative and summative multiple choice tests (MCT’s) was piloted to support independent and self-directed learning and improve performance in an efficient manner for both students and staff. The paper reviews previous studies that have examined the relevance of MCT’s and presents an evaluation of the students grades and the results of a questionnaire designed to capture their perceptions about the effectiveness of MCT’s. Our findings identify improvements on students’ marks and positive responses from students who found MCT’s to be useful at supporting their learning of basic concepts and building confidence and self-esteem. We also argue that MCT’s work more effectively when used in conjunction with other assessment methods.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-121
Number of pages11
JournalInnovations in Education and Teaching International
Issue number2
Early online date18 May 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • multiple choice tests
  • assessment
  • feedback
  • learning
  • higher education
  • first year students


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