Are Your Multiple-Choice Questions Causing Problems?

Enroll in Patti Shank's Write Better Multiple-Choice Questions course!

Assessment research finds that many multiple-choice questions are poorly written. For example, a study of nursing exam questions found close to 85% had significant flaws!

Poorly written questions can lead to invalid assessments that do not assess the right information. They can provide misleading information. They can create morale and legal problems. If you use multiple-choice assessment results to make decisions--such as who can proceed--you open your organization to legal risk when questions are poorly written.

Writing good multiple-choice questions is a critical skill but is rarely taught to learning practitioners and others who design adult instruction. The bottom line is that everyone who uses multiple-choice assessments must be able to write good multiple-choice questions! 
Consider this question:

Well-written multiple-choice questions should assess whether participants: (Select the best answer.)

a.   Can recall content from the course.
b.   Know the meaning of unfamiliar words.
c.   Met the learning objectives.

If you're not sure of the answer, you’re not alone. Research shows that many multiple-choice question writers don't know the primary purpose for multiple-choice questions.  Therefore, many multiple-choice questions measure the wrong content and are therefore less valid than they need to be.

Writing well-written, valid multiple-choice questions that measure achievement of the learning objectives is a critical skill for people who design instruction. (The answer to the question is c.) This course will give you the skills to write clear, valid multiple-choice questions.
What's included?
The Write Better Multiple-Choice Questions course is equivalent to a 1-day classroom workshop, but we spread it out over 10 days to give you more time to process and practice. And it’s online, so no travel or travel expenses!

The learning objectives for this course are:
--  Write well-written learning objectives so you know what multiple-choice questions are needed.
--  Analyze multiple-choice questions to identify flaws that should be fixed.      
--  Write appropriate multiple-choice items that measure achievement of well-written learning objectives.

The course includes:
--  2 live online sessions (90 minutes each) with Patti and classmates
--  Ongoing asynchronous discussions to ask questions and discuss insights
--  Patti’s multiple-choice writing manual (only available through her courses)
-- Detailed learning objective and multiple-choice question exercises
--  A master job aid to help you write more effective multiple-choice questions
-- An action words job aid to help you write the right learning objectives
-- Two quizzes to check your understanding and help you process and remember critical insights  

Who is the course intended for?

We designed the Write Better Multiple-Choice Questions course specifically for workplace-learning professionals and others who need to write valid job-related assessments. This includes instructional designers, trainers, instructors, content experts, technical writers, and others.

The course uses actionable research tactics for writing valid multiple-choice questions and is best suited for people who have some experience designing instruction and writing multiple-choice questions.
Take the quiz  to see what you know and don't know about multiple-choice questions.

When does the next course start?

The next course starts Tuesday, September 8 and ends Thursday, September 18
Reasons to enroll early

 A link to the course manual will be sent to you after enrolling so you can start reading immediately. Many participants tell us the extra reading and processing time is extremely helpful!

The course has limited enrollment so enrolling early guarantees your spot.

Scheduled live session dates and time:

North America, Europe
9 AM US Pacific Daylight Time, Noon US Eastern Daylight Time, 5 PM British Summer Time. The session is 90 minutes, including a break.

If we have 5+ attendees from Australia and New Zealand, there will be an additional live session on Friday, September 11 at 8 AM AEST and 10 AM NZST.

North America, Europe
9 AM US Pacific Daylight Time, Noon US Eastern Daylight Time, 5 PM British Summer Time. The session is 90 minutes, including a break.

If we have 5+ attendees from Australia and New Zealand, there will be an additional live session on Wednesday, September 16 at 8 AM AEST and 10 AM NZST.

Live session dates/times don't work?

Patti can add live session times that work for your group of five or more. Email to discuss arrangements.
Want a private course for your  work team?

Patti frequently delivers sections of this course for work teams of ten people or more. Email to discuss arrangements.
Any discounts for groups?

We offer discounts for three or more people from the same organization (paid at the same time) attending the same public course, or for 10 or more people enrolling in a private course for their work team. Email to discuss team arrangements and discounts.
How much time should I set aside?

We expect the course to take about 10-12 hours, including:
  -- Reading the manual
  -- Asking questions in the discussion area
  -- Attending the live sessions
  -- Practicing

To gain the maximum benefit, take the course when you can dedicate the time and effort. Except for the live sessions, you can participate in the course activities at the times that work best for you.
What's my investment?

The cost for the class is US$449/person. We  accept credit cards and PayPal for payment.

We are unable to process company purchase orders at this time. Companies paying for multiple team members typically pay with a credit card. (Email to ask about paying  for multiple team members.)

Once you register, we are holding your spot. As a result, we are unable to offer refunds. However, you can substitute another person in your  place before the course starts.

Can I share the materials and live sessions with my team/friends/pets?
Course materials are copyrighted and each enrollment permits only the person enrolling to access the course, materials, and activities.

We'd love to train your team! If interested, email for group discounts or to setup  a workshop specifically for your team

Questions? Email:

I joined Patti’s course this July and loved it! Her content matches her facilitation; both excellent. I would totally recommend it.

Taruna Goel, Learning & Performance Specialist, Canada

This training gave me insight into the many factors involved in creating effective multiple-choice questions. It has prepared me to better advise instructors on whether multiple-choice questions are the best tool, and how they can be crafted to generate reliable, valid data.

Anna Landes Benz, Program and Faculty Developer,  USA 
The weekly live sessions opened my mind and upped my question-writing game. Comments from other participants helped me see different perspectives. I strongly recommend this course for anybody who must create multiple-choice question learning assessments.

Peter Sage, Trainer, South Africa
Patti’s course on writing assessments has been invaluable in helping me write effective, credible assessments for my online learning courses and assessments. There is a wealth of well-researched detail about what exactly goes into writing an effective multiple-choice question and how these questions relate to the bigger picture of effective learning. I strongly recommend this course to anyone who wants to make their learning more effective as well as anyone who needs to write effective assessments.

Nick Tchan, Instructional designer, Australia

Patti provided me with comprehensive research to practice guides, interactive class sessions, and robust practice experiences to foster the critical skill set of writing substantive multiple-choice questions to assess actual learner performance.  I strongly encourage everyone involved with performance assessment to take Patti's illuminating and enriching course.

Andrew Muccio, Instructional Designer, USA
This course has an expert facilitator, top-notch resource materials, well-designed practice activities, in-depth research on the topic, and lively discussion both live and online. We explored not just the How of writing good multiple choice questions, but also the Why. Perfect timing! My new project includes a summative assessment, and I'm excited to apply what I learned.

Kim Lindsey, Lead Learning Experience Designer, USA

The lessons included in this course are shown below.

Patti Shank

Patti Shank, PhD is a learning expert, researcher, author, and writer who is listed as one of the Top 10 Most Influential People in eLearning internationally. She is the author of Write and Organize for Deeper Learning, Practice and Feedback for Deeper Learning, and Manage Memory for Deeper Learning. These books offer practical tactics for improving outcomes based on training and other research. You can find Patti's articles on eLearning Industry and elsewhere. Website:

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