What makes a question paper tick?

Usha Ravi

Another academic year is coming to a close and examinations are round the corner. Teachers are busy preparing question papers for the final exam and this article covers certain important features of how a question paper should be set. A standard question paper can be prepared if the teachers put their heart and soul into it. Setting a question paper for examinations is crucial. A student-centric question paper increases the comfort level of the students and reduces stress. It is as important as preparing for a class and completing the curriculum.

Most teachers, while setting a paper, pick and choose some questions, from the lessons taught or from the syllabus prescribed for the course.

exams Examinations are conducted to discover whether a child has been able to acquire a certain amount of knowledge and skill. They are used to test the power of clear thinking, quickness of mind, calmness and perseverance. It can also stimulate the students to work hard to achieve their goals.

Despite the fact that CBSE and other boards of India have come out with many examination reforms like CCE, OTBA (Open text-based assessment), etc., most students think that examinations are a necessary evil.

Structure of a question paper
A standard question paper will have a variety of questions such as objective type, very short answer, short answer, and essay/long answer type.

Objective type questions
Multiple choice, matching the options of two columns, correct the following statements, and fill in the blanks fall into this category.

There are two types of multiple choice questions:

  • The best answer form – one, or more, or all choices may be correct but one of them is the best answer.
  • The correct answer form – it contains three or more choices but only one of them is correct.

Multiple choice questions can test lower order and higher order thinking. They are quick to complete and to mark. In devising multiple choice questions, there are several points to be borne in mind. They are:

  • Make the question and requirements unambiguous and in a language appropriate to the students.
  • Avoid negatives in statements.
  • Avoid clues in the wrong choices.
  • Ensure that one option does not contain more information than the other, as this suggests to students that it is the correct option.

The author has worked in different schools and has been examination-in-charge for the past two decades. She can be reached at usha.raviiyer@gmail.com.

This is an article for subscribers only. You may request the complete article by writing to us at editorial@teacherplus.org.