Essay versus Multiple-Choice Type Classroom Exams: The Student’s Perspective

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The major aim of the present research was to compare students’ attitudes and dispositions toward teacher-made essay versus multiple-choice type exams. The primary study was conducted on a sample of 174 junior high school students, who were administered a test attitude inventory specifically designed to assess students’ attitudes towards essay versus multiple-choice type formats on a variety of critical dimensions. The study was partially replicated on a sample of 101 seventh- and eighth-grade students who were administered a modified version of the test attitude inventory that was used in the first study. Overall, the data from both studies were remarkably consistent, pointing to more favorable student attitudes towards multiple-choice compared to essay type formats on most dimensions assessed. The practical significance of the results for classroom test construction are discussed and some suggestions are made about potential future applications of test attitude inventories in the classroom setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-358
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Educational Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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