VII. Development of Classroom Assessment; Completion Type

Completion Test Items

The completion item requires the student to answer a question or to finish an incomplete statement by filling in a blank with the correct word or phrase. For example:
According to Freud, personality is made up of three major systems: the ___, the ___ and the ___. 

Advantages & limitations

Completion items have several advantages. They:

  • can provide a wide sampling of content.
  • can efficiently measure lower levels of cognitive ability.
  • can minimize guessing as compared to multiple-choice or true-false items.
  • can usually provide an objective measure of student achievement or ability.

Completion items also have several limitations. They: 

  • are difficult to construct so that the desired response is clearly indicated.
  • have difficulty measuring learning objectives requiring more than simple recall of information.
  • can often include more irrelevant clues than do other item types.
  • are more time-consuming to score when compared to multiple-choice or true-false items.
  • are more difficult to score since more than one answer may have to be considered correct if the item was not properly prepared.

Suggestions for writing completion test items

  1. Omit only significant words from the statement.UndesirableEvery atom has a central (core) called a nucleus.
    DesirableEvery atom has a central core called a(n) (nucleus) .
  2. Do not omit so many words from the statement that the intended meaning is lost. UndesirableThe were to Egypt as the were to Persia and as were to the early tribes of Israel.Desirable: The Pharaohs were to Egypt as the were to Persia and as were to the early tribes of Israel.
  3. Avoid grammatical or other clues to the correct response. Undesirable: Most of the United States’ libraries are organized according to the (Dewey) decimal system.Desirable: Which organizational system is used by most of the United States’ libraries? (Dewey decimal)
  4. Be sure there is only one correct response.Undesirable: Trees which shed their leaves annually are (seed-bearing, common).
    Desirable: Trees which shed their leaves annually are called (deciduous) .
  5. Make the blanks of equal length. Undesirable: In Greek mythology, Vulcan was the son of (Jupiter) ___ and (Juno) .Desirable: In Greek mythology, Vulcan was the son of   (Jupiter) and (Juno) .
  6. When possible, delete words at the end of the statement after the student has been presented with a clearly defined problem. Undesirable: (122.5) is the molecular weight of KClO3.Desirable: The molecular weight of KClO3 is (122.5) .
  7. Avoid lifting statements directly from the text, lecture, or other sources. Limit the required response to a single word or phrase.
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Published by:

Rachel Shayne A. Besangre

Failure is a great teacher, and I think when you make mistakes and you recover from them and you treat them as valuable learning experiences, then you've got something to share (Steve Harvey) ^______^

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