Multiple-choice and short-answer question comparison with primary 6 EM3 mathematics students
Chua, May Inn
In Singapore's context, all primary four students must sit for a streaming examination, after which they are streamed into EM1. EM2 and EM3 streams accordingly. EM3 pupils are basically the weakest of all, having failed both English and Mathematics. Since they are academically weak, the purpose of this study was to determine whether or not the format of test would affect the results of these slower learners. To examine this objective, two similar sets of tests with different formats were devised and administered. The work of each student was then analysed and they were also interviewed individually. Results showed that pupils who sat for the MCQ paper did better as compared to those who sat for the short-answer paper. Further investigation showed that formats of test affected the results of the topic of algorithms, but did not appear to have an impact on the other topics of geometry and problem solving. Interviews with these pupils also revealed certain problems they faced when doing test of different formats. It is hoped that the implications drawn from the data will assist teachers and educators to better draw up forms of assessment suitable for these slower learners.