Home      Organizing Induction      Improving Practice   

Tool: Writing good fill-in-the-blank items

Answering fill-in-the-blank questions can be tricky for students because they have to figure out the answer the teacher already has in mind. Writing items carefully can ensure that you test students’ knowledge, rather than their test-taking skills. Use the following questions to evaluate an assessment you’re planning to use or use them to revise the sample items below:

  1. Is each item written clearly and concisely?
  2. Is there only one blank per statement?
  3. Are the blanks placed near the end of each statement?
  4. Is there only one correct answer for each blank?

Can you figure out a way to salvage each of the following items?

a. Southeastern China suffers from the problem of ____________ .

b. To get from Tokyo to Pyongyang, one must travel ________ .

c. In order to decrease ____________, Asian farmers often build ____________ for planting on a ____________.

d. Because of the ____________, the movement of air masses is blocked, thereby keeping the cold air of central Asia out of India and the heavy rainfall of northern India out of central Asia.