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The constructed response or open-ended item is most commonly known as the essay test, but consists of any item format type where the examinee must construct a response rather than select one as in the multiple-choice format.

These item types are sometimes also called subjective tests because scoring involves subjective judgments of the scorer. By contrast, the MCQ is referred to as objective, because no judgments are required to score the items.

Constructed response questions are usually intended to assess students’ ability at the higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy: application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

There are at least two types of essay questions, the restricted and extended response forms. This classification refers to the amount of freedom allowed to candidates in composing their responses. The restricted response question limits the character and breadth of the student’s composition.

There are two basic approaches to the scoring of constructed response test questions: analytic scoring and holistic scoring.

Analytic scoring rubrics list specific elements of the response and specify the number of points to award each response.

The holistic rubric contains statements of a typical response at each score level so that actual responses written by test-takers provide examples of a 10-point response, an 8-point response, a 5-point response, and so on.

The total amount of effort in the use of either essay test or MCQs use is, in part, a function of the number of students to be tested. The greatest amount of effort for MCQ use is in the construction of the test items while for the essay it is the grading.

286The idea of grading essays by computer has been around since the mid-1960s. Researchers have recently made progress in using computers to score constructed item responses. Automated scoring reduces the time and cost of the scoring process.