> I am suggesting that for summative assessments it is best
> to have the variety of different MCQs stored as separate
> questions, since the cost of storage is so low now and then
> you can collect data, as we do, on the difficulty of each
> question without having to rely on a panel of wise men -
> who frankly wont know.
Sure, each to their own. But neither approach is more or less valid. But I
didn't think that was what we were discussing? I introduced, or perhaps
Martin did, I forget, that a rapid way of generating lots of questions was
to use re-usable stems with interchangeable branches.
But I'd just like to comment on a couple of pints you made.
The storage method, discreet questions or stems with interchangeable
branches, has no relation to the ease of recording or measuring difficulty.
Implicit in what you said is that you don't need a panel of experts to judge
the difficulty of questions in an exam set. In fact you were a little
provocative to suggest they wouldn't know. Presumably someone knows how
suitable a question is, otherwise it wouldn't be used?
Surely someone's had to ratify the questions before they got into your exam
set? Or does anyone just chuck 'em in and wait for the analysis after the
exam to check how good they were? Does your external examiner have any say?
Without wanting to labour the point, if someone, even an single individual,
perhaps the module coordinator, decides what questions go into an exam, this
is made no more or less of a test if there are 50 discreet questions or 50
stems with hundreds of interchangeable branches. In fact I'd argue that the
task was made just a little bit easier if the computer can assist in the
compilation of questions.
I'm sure we're talking at cross purposes. This is purely, from my point of
view at least, a question of data storage that I think just makes question
setting that tiny bit easier. It's no more than that.