Student use of test-wiseness strategies in solving multiple-choice chemistry examinations



Test-wiseness strategies used by 11 general chemistry students as they answered a 15-item multiple-choice examination were investigated using a think-aloud technique. A coding scheme based on a published classification of test-wiseness strategies was developed and transcripts were coded using the scheme. Finally, the frequency of each type of strategy that appeared was tabulated. The most common strategies were those that did not compromise the validity of the examination: error avoidance, elimination of incorrect responses, checking responses, and optimal time management. A less common set of strategies helped students gain points beyond those for specific content knowledge. These include deductive reasoning strategies such as similar options, opposing options, absurd options, and an umbrella term. This evidence further supports the idea that test-wiseness strategies are independent of subject area. Excerpts from the transcripts illustrate the strategies employed and support the idea that students be required to write justifications for responses to multiple-choice items (Tamir, 1990).