Writing Matching Test Sections

I don’t really believe a test should be entirely one style (multiple choice, true-false, matching, etc.), except for essay tests, but I do like using matching on occasion. However, I do think three tips help teachers compose a test which forces students to know the material and speeds up the time taking the test.

1. Always have more choices than are needed. If students can simply guess at the answers by a process of elimination, then what is really being assessed? By including extra choices, I can ensure the students actually know the information. As a general rule I have 13-15 matching options for every 10 items to be matched.

2. Short stuff goes on the right. If the matching section has a description matched to a single term or very short phrase, then I put the definitions on the left and the terms on the right. This speeds up the process for the kids because they tend to read the first word and then read all of the choices on the right to find the match. If the description is on the left, the short list on the right can be perused quite quickly. Thus, the test-taking time decreases.

3. Be choosy when using matching. Not all types of information lend itself to a matching section. I tend to use matching to gauge whether or not students can identify terms, characters, or places. It’s a very low standard for students to reach, just the knowledge and comprehension domains of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

That’s about it. I don’t use matching too often, but when I do these are the three tips I try to keep in mind.

What do you consider when composing a matching section of a test?

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