The Uniformity of Distractor Response Distributions in Multiple-Choice Questions


  • John R. Dickinson


There exists considerable theory regarding desirable properties for multiple-choice questions; i.e., properties multiple-choice questions should exhibit. Despite the ubiquity of banks of multiple-choice questions accompanying virtually every introductory textbook in business–and having done so over numerous editions–little research has been published empirically evaluating the extent to which the questions do exhibit desirable properties. The questions’ distractors, i.e., incorrect options, have been subject to even less investigation compared with the staple criteria of item difficulty and item discrimination. The present study investigates the extent to which the distributions of responses to distractors exhibit the desirable property of uniformity, i.e., are the distractors equally attractive.