So often the multiple choice quiz can be a last minute add-on to the rest of the elearning design. As with all elearning, the more thought put into the design, the better learning (or assessment) you will achieve. Recently I read an article on How to Prepare Better Multiple-Choice Test Items by Steven Burton. I thought I would summarize here as well as providing the PDF file below.
This was their summary of weaknesses in many mutiple choice answers:
Firstly they covered when you should use multiple choice instead of a free text answer. Obviously its easier for marking purposes, but their main point was that multiple choice is when people can select an answer to prove their knowledge rather than having to articulate their own understanding, viewpoint or skill. They called this when an answer may be 'selected' over when an answer must be 'supplied'.
They pointed out that the more questions you have the less chance they have of guessing all the answers randomly. 10 was a great number surpisingly with only a 1 in 64 chance of guessing 70% of the answers correctly. 15 or 20 is even better.
Then they provided the following 16 point checklist:
They also particularly delved into point 8 on distractors.
I do strongly recommend grabbing a coffee, finding a quiet place and reading through their whole article when you have a moment. For those of us looking to provide excellence in instructional design this type of small targeted improvement can really elevate our work.