Two-tier multiple-choice questions in electrical engineering: Students' attitudes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The standard multiple-choice test is a common summative assessment instrument in science and engineering education. This tool has both advantages (e.g., objectivity and fast automated marking) and disadvantages (e.g., evaluating only lower-order thinking skills). A possible solution to the weakness mentioned above is the use of two-tier multiple-choice questions. In a two-tier multiple-choice question, the first item is a fact-based question, which requires remembering a fact or applying a principle in a given situation. The second item is a reasoning-based question, which requires justification for the answer given in the first item and necessitates higher-order thinking. Each of the two items has several answers, with one answer correct and the rest are distractors.

The study described in this paper explored students’ attitudes toward incorporating two-tier multiple-choice questions into the final examination of a basic course on electric circuits. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, such characterization was performed here for the first time. One hundred and twenty-four sophomore electrical engineering students from a leading university in Israel participated in the study. The students were informed at the beginning of the course that the final examination would consist mainly of two-tier multiple-choice questions. After taking the final test, the students answered an anonymous open-ended questionnaire. The questionnaire was comprised of ten questions and was validated by two engineering education experts. The qualitative data underwent content analysis and were categorized. According to the findings, students claim that the integration of two-tier multiple-choice questions in the final examination led to an in-depth study of theory. Furthermore, students believe that these questions can examine higher-order thinking skills and that their discrimination level should be higher than that of one-tier questions.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)978-84-09-27666-0
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2021
Event15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference - Online
Duration: 8 Mar 20219 Mar 2021
Conference number: 15th

Publication series

NameINTED2021 Proceedings


Conference15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Abbreviated titleINTED2021
Internet address


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