Multiple choice mauled

8th March 1996 at 00:00
Multiple-choice papers in general vocational qualifications were given the thumbs down by colleges in an Association for Colleges survey, writes Harvey McGavin.

The study, part of the AFC's response to Sir Ron Dearing's review of 16-19 qualifications, shows 98 per cent supported a single diploma replacing A-levels, GNVQs and national vocational qualifications.

Colleges support a more flexible approach to assessment in future and hammered multiple-choice papers, introduced to extend the range of GNVQ tests. A third of colleges took part in the survey.

Three-quarters of respondents - 76 out of 106 - thought that the current system of assessment was inappropriate.

One college said multiple-choice questions were flawed by their inherent guesswork factor, ambiguity and occasional irrelevance. Others said they would prefer case study assessment. "We tell our able students to turn off their brains before they go into the test," said one.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today