Delusions about performance on multiple-choice comprehension tests

Pressley, Michael; Ghatala, Elizabeth S.
September 1988
Reading Research Quarterly;Fall1988, Vol. 23 Issue 4, p454
Academic Journal
Are adult readers aware of their performance following multiple-choice comprehension tests? This issue was investigated by having university students respond to three kinds of multiple-choice items: reading comprehension questions (reading a text and answering inferential questions), opposites (choosing the opposite of a vocabulary word), and analogies (A is to B as C is to ?). The students then rated their certainty that they had responded correctly to each item; all relevant materials were available when the rating was made (i.e., the question, potential answers, the subject's answer, and the text for comprehension test items). Accuracy of confidence ratings was above chance for all three types of test, indicating some awareness of performance. Certainty ratings were more consistent with students' actual performance for opposites and analogies, however, than for comprehension test items. The most striking problem with the certainty ratings for the comprehension items was overconfidence in incorrect answers. This is a serious deficiency, in that perceiving an incorrect answer as possibly incorrect is a critical prerequisite to reprocessing a question and associate, d text in an attempt to identify whether there is a more adequate answer. This finding has implications for those occasions when students are to make inferences about their comprehension and memory of text on the basis of answering questions without provision of explicit feedback, such as when questions accompany text as adjuncts.


Related Articles

  • Sometimes adults miss the main ideas and do not realize it: Confidence in responses to short-answer and multiple-choice comprehension questions. Pressley, Michael; Ghatala, Elizabeth S.; Woloshyn, Vera; Pine, Jennifer // Reading Research Quarterly;Summer1990, Vol. 25 Issue 3, p234 

    In two experiments Canadian university students read challenging passages, each of which was followed by a short-answer or multiple-choice question covering some content in the passage. In the first experiment, each student was asked to read a passage and answer the accompanying question, and...

  • The effect upon comprehension of repatterning based on students' writing patterns. Peltz, Fillmore Kenneth // Reading Research Quarterly;1973/1974, Vol. 9 Issue 4, p603 

    Tested the effect of repatterning passages on the reading comprehension of tenth grade students. Passages from a tenth grade social studies text were repatterned by approximating the syntactic patterns found in a transformational analysis of the writing of the tenth grade subjects who were...

  • Show What You Know.  // Scholastic Action;11/13/2006, Vol. 30 Issue 5/6, p10 

    A multiple-choice quiz base on the play "Sitting Bull: A Native American Legend," which is aimed at testing the reading comprehension of students is presented.

  • EDITION 4 READING SKILLS PRACTICE TEST.  // Scholastic News -- Edition 4;10/23/2006, Vol. 69 Issue 6, p4A 

    A multiple-choice examination to develop the reading skills of school children is presented.

  • NEWSREVIEW.  // Current Events;11/29/2002, Vol. 101 Issue 12, p4 

    Presents a multiple-choice exercise to test readers' understanding of several articles published in the November 29, 2002 issue of the periodical 'Current Events.'

  • READING COMPREHENSION.  // Scholastic News -- Edition 3;2/12/2007, Vol. 63 Issue 15, p4 

    A multiple choice quiz on reading comprehension is presented.

  • READING COMPREHENSION.  // Scholastic News -- Edition 3;11/14/2005, Vol. 62 Issue 8, p4 

    Presents a multiple-choice test on reading comprehension.

  • Who Killed King Tut?  // Know Your World Extra;2003-2003 Skills Extenders, p14 

    Presents a multiple-choice quiz for children about reading comprehension and King Tut of ancient Egypt.

  • Show What You Know.  // Scholastic Action;2/18/2008, Vol. 31 Issue 10, p15 

    A multiple choice quiz on reading comprehension is presented.


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics