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MarylandFine Arts Education Instructional Tool Kit
All Fine Arts Content Areas Dance Music Theatre Visual Arts
Maryland Fine Arts Education
Developing Fine Arts Assessments
Integrating Fine Arts Across the Curriculum
Assessment Outcomes and Implications

Selected Response Item Formats and Examples
Matching  Multiple Choice  True-False
Check all Responses that Apply  Mark a Visual Field

Multiple Choice

Multiple-choice items consist of two components:   a stem (i.e., a question or imperative, in the form of a phrase or complete sentence), and a set of alphabetically or numerically labeled choices from which the respondent selects an answer.


  • Subtle differences in the degree of correctness that make one choice clearly better than others elicit higher level thinking


  • Evidence of knowledge is indirect (requires recognition of correct response rather than creation of a correct response)


  • Include only one clearly correct option for each item
  • Ensure a complete fit between the stem and the correct option (the option must fully address the stem question or complete the stem imperative but must not go beyond the stem to include more information than called for)
  • Use distractors, or incorrect response options, that address a common misconception, a known predisposition, a flaw in reasoning, or a partial or overly general understanding
  • Avoid using distractors that are obvious or superficial
  • Present distractors that parallel the correct option in terms of language level, grammatical form, and length

View Examples:

Music Activity 1

Music Activity 4

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