Multiple-Choice Testing Using Immediate Feedback—Assessment Technique (IF AT®) Forms: Second-Chance Guessing vs. Second-Chance Learning?

  •  Jeremy D. Merrel    
  •  Pier F. Cirillo    
  •  Pauline M. Schwartz    
  •  Jeffrey Webb    


Multiple choice testing is a common but often ineffective method for evaluating learning. A newer approach, however, using Immediate Feedback Assessment Technique (IF AT®, Epstein Educational Enterprise, Inc.) forms, offers several advantages. In particular, a student learns immediately if his or her answer is correct and, in the case of an incorrect answer, has an opportunity to provide a second response and receive partial credit for a correct second attempt. For a multiple choice question with five possible answers, the IF AT® form covers spaces labeled A through E with a thin opaque film; when the film is scratched away, a star indicates the correct answer. This study was conducted in order to assess learning after an initial incorrect answer. Based on random chance, students should have mathematically a 25% chance of guessing a correct second answer (i.e. 1 of 4 remaining answers on the IF AT® form). Analysis of second responses for 8775 questions on IF AT® forms in 22 classes over 3 years showed that the percent of correct second answers was 44.9%, significantly higher than one might expect from random guessing. This indicates that students learned from an incorrect answer and, possibly by re-reading the problem, were able to demonstrate some level of mastery of the material. This data leads us to conclude that IF AT® forms are useful assessment tools.

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  • ISSN(Print): 1925-4741
  • ISSN(Online): 1925-475X
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: quarterly

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