Test items that are well written enable students to easily understand what is expected and provide a valid indication of student learning. Students can respond to more content-related items if they don’t have to physically write a response. Students who have physical or learning disabilities often have difficulty writing responses to essay type items, matching and multiple choice test items require limited writing and can be effective tools for testing specific types of learning. Like true and false items, these types of items require more effort to develop, but a shorter time to grade.
Finally, multiple choice items lend themselves to statistical analysis for evaluation and improvement purposes. Measurement and evaluation centers can assess the effectiveness of test items or provide instructors with information for completing their own. Although comparative analyses can be done on essay items, the procedures must be done by hand and are far less reliable.
Developing Essay Items - Park University
Since multiple choice items require less time to answer than do essay items, more items can be included in an exam; therefore, more areas can be tested. The wider the sample range, the more valid and reliable a single test can be.