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The Effect of Question Order on Responses to Multiple-choice Questions Documents

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The Effect of Question Order on Responses to Multiple-choice Questions 

written by Kara E. Gray, N. Sanjay Rebello, and Dean A. Zollman

Educators and researchers often make the assumption that the order of test or survey questions is unimportant.  Is this assumption valid?  This study investigates how the order of two related FCI questions (#13 and 14) affects students' responses.  This study also investigates the effect an unrelated FCI question (#23) has on answers to the above problems.  Four versions of a survey were administered before and after instruction to 243 students taking an algebra-based physics class.  Versions 1 and 2 of the survey included the related physics questions in opposite order.  Versions 3 and 4 included the unrelated physics question and one of the above questions.  Student responses for the four versions were compared for both the pre- and post-instruction surveys.

Published August 7, 2002
Last Modified April 13, 2009

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