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Does the Position of Response Options in Multiple-Choice Tests Matter?

Published On: September, 2017

Article Type: Research Article

Volume: 38 |


In large scale multiple-choice (MC) tests alternate forms of a test may be developed to prevent cheating by changing the order of items or by changing the position of the response options. The assumption is that since the content of the test forms are the same the order of items or the positions of the response options do not have any effect on item difficulty and other psychometric characteristics of the test. The purpose of the present investigation is to model the difficulty of the options’ positions (a, b, c, and d) in a high-stakes MC test using the linear logistic test model (Fischer, 1973). Findings revealed that options’ positions have very slight differences in difficulty and as the position of the correct option moves toward the end of the set of response options it becomes slightly more difficult.