Writing different variants of iCMA questions

So how can you make different variants of interactive computer-marked assignment questions?

Here are some strategies we’ve used:

  • Use different numbers (so ‘Evaluate 3 + 7’ becomes’Evaluate  ‘4 + 5’);
  • Use different letters (so ‘Rearrange a=bc to make b the subject’ becomes ‘Rearrange b=cd to make c the subject’);
  • Use different words (so ‘Find the area of the floorboard’ becomes ‘Find the area of the carpet’ or ‘Find the area of the runway’);
  • For multiple-choice questions, give the options in a random order, or pick a number of correct and incorrect options to display from a larger bank;
  • Give a different diagram or graph (so students are finding the gradient of a different line);
  • Ask different questions based on the same diagram (so some students might be asked to label the heart whilst others might be asked to label the lungs);
  • Substitute a different question (making sure it assesses the same learning outcomes and is of similar difficulty) in the same place in the iCMA.

For each of these strategies there are issues in making the different variants as similar as possible. To be discussed in a future posting.

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