Test Questions

Specialties Educators


The college I teach at has a "sacred cow" rule on the number of test questions a course is to have. No one can tell me where this magic number came from. They require 70 questions per credit hour. The course I teach is a six hour course. I am required to have 420 questions divded over eight weeks. I think this makes the exams too long for the students. It is also very difficult for me to develop that many questions without repeating myself.

Any ideas or comments?



231 Posts

Specializes in Flight RN, Trauma1 CVICU STICU MICU CCU.

You could always come up with priority questions to fill in the rest. Or lab questions. As a recent grad, i hate long tests, but honestly... the more questions we see as students, the more likely we will have covered it when NCLEX drags one out of the basement on us.

Whispera, MSN, RN

3,458 Posts

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education.

Also, having more questions on a test means you can miss more and still pass, to a point anyway. I like to think of tests as learning experiences, not just a method of seeing what the students know. I include situations that have come up in clinical, and important lab values, and groups of symptoms. Also, lots of instructor texts have test banks. That's a very good starting point!

Specializes in Med-Surg.

I have never heard of having a set number of test questions per credit. But since it is a "sacred cow" looks like you have no choice. I use a lot of matching questions, with each part numbered separately. I also use the NCLEX books for test questions. This helps to get the students used to NCLEX questions, and helps me with good test questions. I have used care plans, documentation, and case studies as questions with a lot of points. Drug calculations questions are always good, as are IV mixtures, solutions, and drip rates. I have sometimes asked students to write their own question, and then answer it. Their questions are usually quite interesting, and a lot harder. Good luck

Specializes in ICU, Education.

BigBadInstructor;3763368] states, "I have never heard of having a set number of test questions per credit. But since it is a "sacred cow" looks like you have no choice".

I do not agree with this statement, and perhaps that is why I struggle professionally. The higher we go in education, the more we are taught to question the norm, use clinical inquiry, analyze and question assumptions, and make sure we base actions on evidence...

However, since I got into education, I have seen so much of "do it this way because that's the way we do it" that my head is spinning. I question things that do not bring context into the theory, I question when assessment of learning is not in alignment of objectives, I knew that higher levels of learning needed to be addressed in teaching and testing.

Sometimes, the research comes to the forefront, adn the experienced educators all of a sudden want to teach me new practice based on research, but I have been doing this, because that is what I learned and no one has been thinking I know what I am doing. Now all of a sudden, it comes from them....

Not that I need them to know I know, I just need them to think outside the box, before it becomes the box. I think when people won't listen to evidence until it is established as "evidence-based practice" it hinders all.

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