Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Orangutan Score

Question: If you’re going to write a multiple-choice test, what’s one way you can assure a valid and reliable score?

Answer: An orangutan, says the author, will punch the correct answer out of four possible answers, about 25% of the time. Of course, orangutans cannot read, so make sure that your students can’t guess randomly correctly 25% of the time.

Comment: Try it yourself on a standardized test. I’ve even tried it with the Advanced Placement (AP) literature test. I was surprised how many correct answers I could figure out without reading the test passage. In some groups of questions, I had 9 out of 10 answers correct. I never read the given passage. RayS.

Title: “The Orangutan Score.” Edward Fry. Reading Teacher (January 1971), 360-362.

Note: The author spelled “Orangoutang” this way. My spelling checker said it was “Orangutan.” I accepted the spelling checker. RayS.

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