Why should I do this? 

Free response questions can be used to assess higher cognitive skills, and because students must provide an answer in their own words, they are also more difficult for students to cheat on compared to multiple choice questions. Free response questions can be stand alone or paired with multiple choice questions. 

How can I do this?

  • Ask students to upload their work to show how they arrived at the answer they selected for a multiple choice question.  
  • Ask students to explain how they arrived at the answer or to explain their thinking. 
  • Ask students to provide a real-world example (that you did not already discuss in class) of an important concept or phenomenon. 
  • Ask students to explain how they might use the concept or skill in their career or life in the future. 
  • Ask students to explain why the other answer choices to a multiple choice question are incorrect. This can work well if the other answers are common misconceptions.  
  • Ask more conceptual questions (e.g., “what is the next step in this problem?”, “state the definition of…”, “explain why this hypothesis in the theorem is necessary”)* 
  • Ask students to identify and correct an error in a proof or computation (this is particularly effective since it can’t be googled; also another good place to test common student misconceptions)* 

*These suggestions come from Rutger’s Office of Undergraduate Education