A. Fill-in-the-Blank Items
The simplest forms of constructed response questions are fill-in-the-blank
or short answer questions. For example, the question may take
one of the following forms:
- Who was the 16th president of the United States?
- The 16th president of the United States was ___________________.
These assessments are relatively easy to construct, yet they have
the potential to test recall, rather than simply recognition.
They also control for guessing, which can be a major factor, especially
for T/F or multiple choice questions.
When creating short answer items, make sure the question is clear
and there is a single, correct answer. Here are a few guidelines,
along with examples and non-examples
- Ask a direct question that has a definitive answer.
- If using fill-in-the blank, use only one blank per item.
- If using fill-in-the blank, place the blank near the end of
Although constructed response assessments can more easily demand
higher levels of thinking, they are more difficult to score.
For example, scantrons (optical grade scanners) cannot score this
type of assessment, and computer-based scoring is difficult because
you must include all synonyms and acceptable answers. For example,
all of the following might be acceptable answers to the sample question: "Who
was the 16th president of the United States?" Abraham Lincoln;
Abe Lincoln; Lincoln; President Lincoln; Honest Abe; the Railsplitter.
You might also want to accept common misspellings such as Abrahem
or Lencoln (depending on the objective).