Using multiple-choice questions

Clio et cetera

A few years ago I would have completely rejected the idea that multiple-choice questions were in any way useful in history lessons, and I still have reservations. I have always been happy to use quick factual recall quizzes – though I must admit I tended to use these more with GCSE and A-Level classes than lower down the school – but I always thought that multiple choice just did not work for history. I have shifted my opinion on this somewhat in the last few years and I want to explain why.

It is important, I think, to make a distinction between two kinds of multiple-choice question that you can use in history lessons. On the one hand there are those questions which are essentially slightly easier versions of straight factual-recall questions. A key date for pupils to remember when studying the unification of Germany is the Austro-Prussian War. Usually I…

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