Education research: partial credit for multiple-choice questions (PCMC) student attitudes (fall semester 2011)

Starting fall semester 2008 and continuing through fall semester 2011, Cuesta College students taking Astronomy 210 (introductory astronomy) at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, CA have piloted the use of partial credit for multiple-choice (PCMC) questions.

During the ninth week of instruction (after taking four multiple-choice question quizzes, and a midterm with multiple-choice questions and short-answer/essay questions), students were given the opportunity to evaluate PCMC in an online "Partial Credit for Multiple-Choice (PCMC) Survey" hosted by SurveyMonkey.com.

These are the complete survey results. Analysis will be forthcoming after more data has been compiled from future semesters. Values for the mean and standard deviations are given next to the modal response category for each question. Note that the order of questions within sections II and III were randomly scrambled for each student.
Partial Credit for Multiple-Choice Survey
Cuesta College
Astronomy 210 fall semester 2011 sections 70158, 70160
(N = 48)

I. In order to receive credit for completing this survey,
first enter your first and last name below:

II. Recall that for this semester there is PCMC = "partial
credit for multiple choice," where you can get partial
credit even after circling a wrong answer, if you have
also eliminated an incorrect answer by marking it with
an "x."
Answer the following statements which may or may not
describe your beliefs about PCMC in this class.
Because of PCMC...

II.1 ...I read questions more carefully.
1. Strongly disagree 1 : *
2. Disagree 1 : *
3. Neutral 11 : ***********
4. Agree 26 : ************************** [3.9 +/- 0.8]
5. Strongly agree 9 : *********

II.2 ...I spend more time taking a test.
1. Strongly disagree 2 : **
2. Disagree 9 : *********
3. Neutral 8 : ********
4. Agree 22 : ********************** [3.5 +/- 1.1]
5. Strongly agree 7 : *******

II.3 ...I feel more confident about circling a correct choice.
1. Strongly disagree 2 : **
2. Disagree 2 : **
3. Neutral 17 : *****************
4. Agree 20 : ******************** [3.6 +/- 1.0]
5. Strongly agree 7 : *******

II.4 ...I look for incorrect choices before circling a correct choice.
1. Strongly disagree 3 : ***
2. Disagree 5 : *****
3. Neutral 8 : ********
4. Agree 23 : *********************** [3.6 +/- 1.1]
5. Strongly agree 9 : *********

III. Answer the following statements which may or may not describe
your beliefs about PCMC in this class.

III.1 PCMC helped me answer test questions better.
1. Strongly disagree 0 :
2. Disagree 0 :
3. Neutral 19 : *******************
4. Agree 20 : ******************** [3.8 +/- 0.7]
5. Strongly agree 9 : *********

III.2 I would recommend using PCMC in future semesters of this class.
1. Strongly disagree 0 :
2. Disagree 1 : *
3. Neutral 4 : ****
4. Agree 20 : ********************
5. Strongly agree 23 : *********************** [4.4 +/- 0.7]

III.3 Having PCMC a positive experience.
1. Strongly disagree 0 :
2. Disagree 1 : *
3. Neutral 5 : *****
4. Agree 24 : ************************ [4.2 +/- 0.7]
5. Strongly agree 18 : ******************

III.4 Using PCMC was difficult.
1. Strongly disagree 20 : ********************
2. Disagree 21 : ********************* [1.8 +/- 3.0]
3. Neutral 5 : *****
4. Agree 0 :
5. Strongly agree 2 : **

III.5 I would identify incorrect choices even without PCMC.
1. Strongly disagree 1 : *
2. Disagree 4 : ****
3. Neutral 14 : **************
4. Agree 19 : ******************* [3.7 +/- 1.0]
5. Strongly agree 10 : **********

IV. (Optional.) Please type in any comments you may have regarding
the use of PCMC in this class.
The following are all of the student responses to this question, verbatim and unedited.
"pcmc rocks!!!"

"it was very helpfull"

"I like that we are rewarded for being able to rule out an answer that is not correct. It reinforces test taking strategy that should be used in all multiple choice tests in any class."

"It's good."

"I think it's nice having PCMC. It helps with the proccess of elimination and it definitly is nice being able to get credit for picking out which answer is wrong on a test. I think that you should continue to use PCMC in the future."

"Keep PCMC"

"I really like using PCMC, it makes taking tests a little easier as well as making you feel less worried about whatever grade you get on the test."

"if you do a X and O on each probelm do you just get partial bacuse i market two or do you get full point if you mark both and they are both correct is it full creadit or partial because two are mark instead of just one beacuse i mark the incorrect and the correct on each probelm just in case ones is wrong then the other is ritghis that partial or full do you have to have both right to get full credit or just one answer to get full credit"

"I have never used PCMC before, and I would like to use it again. Thank you"

"II think PCMC gives the teacher a better undestanding of a students comprehension of the question."

"I Love PCMC!"

"You should put three right answers and one wrong that way, everyone has a 75% chance of getting the right answer!"

"I wish each question wasn't worth so many points (4 pts) especially when PCMC is worth .5 point."

"I think PCMC is good overall. It doesn't allow people to fluff off studying, however for those questions where a student is torn between two answers, it allows them to at least get some credit if they answer incorrectly. It also shows they at least have a rudamentry understanding of the concept."

"It was a nice way to get easy points and now that I think about it, it really did make me read the question answers more thoroughly."

"I think it does help a little with PCMC because even if the answer is wrong on a question, there is a possibility of obtaining some points for the problem given."

"Keep it going!"

"It was a nuetral expeiriance"

"it's a nice way to get points if i don't know the answer to a question."

"It's a Blessing"

"I like PCMC"

"I like the fact we can still get points for questions."

"I like the ability of getting partial points for questions."

"It like using a life line on who wants to be a millionaire...I love that show"

"I really enjoy the system"

"I think that this policy is one of the best I've ever heard of! It really gives us students a little extra push on being able to find the correct answer within some pretty hard material to learn. Thank you for allowing us the second chance!"

"Its th bees knees!!! Hey _____!"

"really like it!!"

"I usually look for obvious wrong answers, so this is great."


"I like it because it's almost like the 50/50 lifeline on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Sometimes when I find the one definite wrong answer, I look for more wrong answers if I'm not completely sure on a positive answer. Helps me narrow down choices."

"I like it. It's really helpful. Thanks."

"Just a quick reminder of its existence before each test would be helpful for us forgetful types."

"good stuff"

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