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Tool: Writing good matching items

Matching items have the advantage of combining several items into one, but they are tricky to write. This type of item should only be used when these questions can be answered satisfactorily:

  1. Is the entire set of items based upon one concept or type of relationship?
  2. Is this concept or relationship clearly stated in its instructions?
  3. Are the stems and answers written clearly and concisely?
  4. Have you included more answers than stems so that the last answer can't be figured out by the process of elimination?
  5. Do your directions state whether or not a given answer may be used more than once?

Use the above guidelines to revise this set into a series of questions about the capitals of Asian countries:

Place the correct letter in the spaces to the left of the table:


_____ 1. Manila

a. Capital of India

_____ 2. Woman who wrote The Good Earth

b. Capital of the Philippines

_____ 3. New Delhi

c. Beijing

_____ 4. Land surrounded by water

d. Pearl S. Buck

_____ 5. The capital of China

e. Island

_____ 6. Seasonal winds

f. Monsoons