Education research: partial credit for multiple-choice questions (PCMC) student attitudes (spring semester 2012)

Starting fall semester 2008 and continuing through spring semester 2012, 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 spring semester 2012 sections 30674, 30676
(N = 46)

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 0 :
2. Disagree 2 : **
3. Neutral 9 : *********
4. Agree 28 : **************************** [3.9 +/- 0.7]
5. Strongly agree 7 : *******

II.2 ...I spend more time taking a test.
1. Strongly disagree 0 :
2. Disagree 10 : **********
3. Neutral 10 : **********
4. Agree 22 : ********************** [3.4 +/- 0.9]
5. Strongly agree 4 : ****

II.3 ...I feel more confident about circling a correct choice.
1. Strongly disagree 1 : *
2. Disagree 4 : ****
3. Neutral 19 : *******************
4. Agree 19 : ******************* [3.4 +/- 0.8]
5. Strongly agree 3 : ***

II.4 ...I look for incorrect choices before circling a correct choice.
1. Strongly disagree 2 : **
2. Disagree 7 : *******
3. Neutral 5 : *****
4. Agree 25 : ************************* [3.6 +/- 1.1]
5. Strongly agree 7 : *******

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 3 : ***
3. Neutral 13 : *************
4. Agree 23 : *********************** [3.7 +/- 0.8]
5. Strongly agree 6 : ******

III.2 I would recommend using PCMC in future semesters of this class.
1. Strongly disagree 0 :
2. Disagree 0 :
3. Neutral 7 : *******
4. Agree 17 : ***************** [4.3 +/- 0.7]
5. Strongly agree 21 : *********************

III.3 Having PCMC a positive experience.
1. Strongly disagree 0 :
2. Disagree 0 :
3. Neutral 7 : *******
4. Agree 24 : ************************ [4.2 +/- 0.7]
5. Strongly agree 14 : **************

III.4 Using PCMC was difficult.
1. Strongly disagree 16 : ****************
2. Disagree 20 : ******************** [2.0 +/- 2.5]
3. Neutral 5 : *****
4. Agree 3 : ***
5. Strongly agree 1 : *

III.5 I would identify incorrect choices even without PCMC.
1. Strongly disagree 0 :
2. Disagree 4 : ****
3. Neutral 12 : ************
4. Agree 23 : *********************** [3.7 +/- 0.8]
5. Strongly agree 6 : ******

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. Some responses have been bolded for emphasis.
"PCMC helps me know where im at when knowing the material."

"I like it because I feel like I have two chances to get the question right."

"I enjoying using the PCMC and would strongly encourage you to continue to use it in the future...
PCMC is a great way to give partial credit, as well as narrow answers down to the correct one."

"I like being able to get partial credit even if my answer is wrong."

"Before using PCMC in this class i would initially look for the first correct answer i saw and then go over the rest of the incorrect answers ruling them out, using PCMC is very helpful for me on questions that i am unsure about cause identifying wrong answers is never a problem."

"i like it, please continue to use it"

"... I love the opportunity PCMC gives me and how it might give me some extra points but all in all the amount given is nothing that would really benefit the overall test. Plus with your tests already a lot of the multiplication problems have options that are all alike so it intimidates me to circle an answer and then go and cross out another since i feel all are correct."

"PCMC is a great way to encourage because if you know for a fact one is wrong then you know you can at least get some points!"

"I like having this because whne the questions area little difficult it does make you go through the possibiliites more thoroughly."

"I like PCMC :)"

"The PCMC really helps narrow down a correct answer if I'm having difficulty on a question."

"You should make the correct incorrect choice worth more than 0.5 points. Maybe one point?"

"no comments"

"I think it's a great idea. Usually when we are presented with multiple choice its all or nothing. This way at least gets you somewhat closer to the answer by eliminating a wrong choice, even if you don't quite know the correct choice"

"you're the man p-dog!"

"it works"

"I like it because I can fall back on them incase I am not quite sure of an answer, but I always end up finishing the quiz or test then going back and figuring our definite wrong ones."

"PCMC was great--even if I answered incorrectly, I still could receive credit on a question without taking a 0 outright. Keep it, P-Dog!"

"I find that PCMC really helps me in determining the answer to a question that I am unsure about."

"No comment"

"It takes a little bit of the stress off of a test."

"I feel PCMC is really valuable for other students more than it is for me. I am the type of person who really studies for tests and quizzes and I dot really want to use PCMC because I want to really earn my grade from putting in the effort and studying. I also, while in the moment of taking a quiz or exam forget that I can make an x mark next to a question I am not 100 percent sure about. I think PCMC will only come in handy for me in the explanation essay portion of the exam, just in case I can't explain something in as much detail as I want."

"I think PCMC is helpful because it's extremely difficult for me to get good grades on these tests. I feel like I study for such a long time, and the material is still eluding me. PCMC makes me a little more confident that I'll hopefully at least pass the class because of the partial credit I receive. (also, I think it might be good if the tests were longer and the questions were worth more points... like 20 questions worth 2 points each- that way, grades aren't devastated if you get a couple wrong!)"

"Do we have multiple choice on the midterm too and does it use PCMC. Or is the midterm only short answer"

"i really like it because all my life i was taught by teachers that if you dont know an answer, eliminate what you know is wrong first to narrow it down. Often i can do this but still struggle with the right answer. So its nice to get partial credit for the fact that i at least somewhat get it."

"i think it is a cool concept but i feel the partial credit that you give for a x-ed out answer doesn't make a very big difference with your score."

"PCMC is a grade helper, and I super appreciate that... especially when one question is worth 4 points."

"I enjoy pcmc to help eliminate wrong answers."

"i think it is smrt but it personaly makes me second guess myself"

"i think we should get even more points for crossing an answer out"

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