Analysis of the Discrete Option Multiple Choice Item: Examples from IT Certification

Date:

9/7/2017

Author(s):

Carol Eckerly, Ph.D., Russell Smith, Ph.D.

Type(s):

Presentations & Papers

Description:

The Discrete Option Multiple Choice (DOMC) item format was developed by Foster and Miller (2009) as an alternative to the traditional Multiple Choice (MC) item format in order to limit examinees’ exposure to complete item content. Rather than having access to the stem, key, and all distractors concurrently and then choosing a response, examinees only gain access to response options one at a time as a series of dichotomous true/false responses which are randomly administered to each examinee. Options continue to be administered until an examinee either correctly identifies the key as correct or incorrectly identifies a distractor as correct. After the item has either been scored as correct or incorrect according to this rule, Foster and Miller (2009) recommend an additional option be administered with a probability of 0.50 after the item has been scored so test takers are less able to determine the correctness or incorrectness of their responses. By presenting and scoring items in this manner, examinees will rarely see all of the distractors and the key for each item, and each examinee will have a slightly different testing experience. The idea is that it would be harder for examinees to memorize exam content in a way that would seriously compromise the integrity of the exam. Foster and Miller also posit that the DOMC item type may exhibit better measurement properties than traditional MC items by reducing construct irrelevant variance introduced by test-taking skills and cheating.