Cirrus Hidden Gems: Question Types To Test All Facets of Knowledge

Share via:

How can we be sure that our assessments capture the entirety of a learner’s understanding? By incorporating a range of question types in testing. A single format can’t capture the full breadth and depth of understanding. From multiple choice for basic recall to essay prompts for critical thinking, diverse questions allow educators to assess not only what students remember, but also how they apply, analyse, and synthesise information. This multifaceted approach provides a more comprehensive evaluation of a student’s comprehension and cognitive abilities.

Cirrus offers a range of question types designed to probe and evaluate every conceivable aspect of a learner’s understanding. To understand how this wide range of question types helps you test knowledge more comprehensively, let’s consider Bloom’s taxonomy: 

Bloom’s Taxonomy is a hierarchical model that categorises educational objectives into different levels, each more complex and abstract than the last. Developed by Benjamin Bloom and his colleagues in the 1950s, this taxonomy serves as a foundation for educators to craft lessons and assessments that cover the spectrum of learning outcomes, from basic recall of facts to higher-order thinking skills.

Here is a brief recap of Bloom’s Taxonomy:

  • Remember: At this foundational level, students are expected to recall or recognize information.
  • Understand: Here, learners must interpret, exemplify, classify, summarise, infer, compare, or explain the information they’ve learned.
  • Apply: This involves using knowledge in practical situations, such as problem-solving scenarios that involve the use of information, methods, or conceptual understanding.
  • Analyse: At this tier, learners break down information into its constituent parts to understand its structure.
  • Evaluate: Here, students make judgments about the value of ideas, solutions, methods, etc., based on criteria and standards.
  • Create: The most complex level involves producing new or unique work, combining elements into novel patterns or structures.

Diving into Cirrus’s array of question types, you’ll quickly see the connection to Bloom’s Taxonomy. From Multiple Choice questions targeting the “Remember” level to Comprehensive Integrated Puzzles that span “Analyse,” “Evaluate,” and “Create” stages, Cirrus delivers a comprehensive toolkit for assessing knowledge. Recognizing these ties can empower you to craft more effective questions, ensuring learners are thoroughly evaluated across all cognitive levels. Ready to explore?

Multiple Choice

What it is: A question where candidates select the correct answer from a list of options. Often used to assess a learner’s ability to remember specific facts, concepts, or basic understanding of a topic.

Example: “Which planet is closest to the sun?” (a) Venus (b) Mars (c) Mercury (d) Jupiter

Note: Multiple Choice questions are one of the most commonly used question types, due to their efficiency and ease of grading.. While they primarily focus on assessing recall, Cirrus offers the flexibility to assign scores to other alternatives, allowing for a more nuanced evaluation. This means that even if a candidate doesn’t select the primary correct answer, they can still earn partial credit based on the relevance of their choice.

Type of Knowledge: Typically, Multiple Choice questions are designed to test a learner’s recall and recognition skills. However, with the ability to assign scores to various alternatives, they can also gauge a deeper understanding or partial comprehension of a topic.

Autoscored in Cirrus: Yes. The platform also provides options to randomise answer order, fix the position of certain alternatives, and add labels for a more tailored assessment experience.

Check out the Cirrus Knowledge Base for more information about the Multiple Choice question type.

Extended Multiple Choice

What it is: The Extended Multiple Choice (EMC) question is an advanced form of the traditional multiple-choice format. It combines features from Multiple Response, Multiple Choice, and Either/Or questions into a single template. The EMC is structured in two parts, both of which revolve around the same context, ensuring candidates address interconnected aspects of a topic within the same question.

Example: Part 1: “Which of the following are fruits?” (a) Apple (b) Carrot. Part 2: “Which fruit is citrus?” (a) Apple (b) Orange.

Note: The EMC is particularly useful when educators wish to assess a learner’s understanding of a topic from multiple angles or depths within a single question. It’s a versatile tool that can be tailored to test both basic recall and deeper comprehension.

Type of Knowledge: At its core, the EMC is designed to assess a range of cognitive skills. The first part might target basic recall, aligning with the “Remember” phase of Bloom’s taxonomy, while the second part can delve into understanding or application. Given its dual nature, the EMC can be crafted to probe various levels of Bloom’s taxonomy within a single question, offering a comprehensive insight into a learner’s grasp of a topic.

Autoscored in Cirrus: Yes, with both Dichotomous scoring, where candidates must answer all parts correctly to score, and Polytomous scoring, allowing for partial credit if some sections are answered correctly.

Check out the Cirrus Knowledge Base for more information about the Extended Multiple Choice question type.

Multiple Response

What it is: The Multiple Response (MR) question type is an evolution of the traditional Multiple Choice format. Unlike its predecessor, which allows for only one correct answer, the MR format permits multiple correct answers to be chosen by the candidate. This design enables a more nuanced assessment, gauging a learner’s comprehensive understanding of a topic by allowing them to select all relevant options that apply.

Example: “Which of the following are prime numbers?” (a) 2 (b) 4 (c) 5 (d) 7. In this case, both (a) and (d) are correct.

Note: The MR format is particularly useful when a topic or concept has multiple correct facets or when educators wish to assess a learner’s ability to discern multiple truths within a given context. It offers flexibility in scoring, with options for Dichotomous scoring, where all answers must be correct, or Polytomous scoring, which provides partial credit for partially correct answers.

Type of Knowledge: The MR question type is primarily designed to assess a learner’s depth and breadth of understanding. It can touch upon the “Understand” and “Apply” tiers of Bloom’s taxonomy, especially when discerning between closely related concepts or identifying multiple facets of a broader topic.

Autoscored in Cirrus: Yes, with options for both Dichotomous and Polytomous scoring, allowing for full or partial credit based on the accuracy of the selected answers.

Check out the Cirrus Knowledge Base for more information about the Multiple Response question type.

Either/Or

What it is: The Either/Or question type in Cirrus is a straightforward format where candidates must decide between two contrasting options. This type often appears as True/False, Yes/No, Agree/Disagree, etc. 

Example: “Photosynthesis primarily occurs in the leaves of plants. Agree or Disagree?”

Note: The “Either/Or” style is a hallmark for simplicity and clarity. However, it requires careful crafting to ensure questions are unambiguous. While they’re excellent tools for gauging foundational understanding, the inherent limitation is that they don’t delve into the depths or nuances of a learner’s knowledge.

Type of Knowledge: These questions largely tap into the “Remember” and “Understand” stages of Bloom’s taxonomy. They address a learner’s ability to recall basic facts and discern factual statements from falsehoods. Due to their binary nature, they are less suited for probing complex cognitive skills but are indispensable for foundational knowledge checks.

Autoscored in Cirrus: Yes

Check out the Cirrus Knowledge Base for more information about the Either/Or question type.

Numeric

What it is: The Numeric question type in Cirrus requires candidates to provide a numeric response. It can be tailored to accept or ignore alphanumeric characters, depending on your requirements. For the answer format, you can opt for a precise value where the candidate must input the exact specified value to achieve a score. Alternatively, you can define a range, and in this case, any number submitted that falls between the set minimum and maximum values will be considered correct.

Example: “If a shirt costs £20 and there’s a 15% discount, how much will the shirt cost after the discount is applied?”

Note: Numeric questions are versatile and can be particularly useful in subjects like mathematics or physics where precise numeric answers are required. The platform also allows for the inclusion of tables within the question, which can be beneficial for complex problems. Additionally, Cirrus provides a “workout box” feature, enabling candidates to jot down their calculations or notes. This can be set up to either store these notes for the assessor’s view or simply as a temporary space for the candidate’s use.

Type of Knowledge: Primarily anchored in the “Apply” phase of Bloom’s taxonomy, these questions challenge learners to execute mathematical operations or solve problems using formulas. They can, however, extend to the “Analyse” phase when learners are tasked with breaking down complex scenarios or data sets to arrive at a numeric solution.

Autoscored in Cirrus: Yes

Check out the Cirrus Knowledge Base for more information about the Numeric question type.

Fill in the Blank(s)

What it is: The Fill in the Blank(s) (FITB) question type in Cirrus is designed to assess a candidate’s ability to recall specific information by having them complete a blank within a given sentence or context. This could range from missing words in a statement to providing answers to acronyms.

Example: ‘There’s a S.M.A.R.T. way to write management’s goals and objectives. What does S.M.A.R.T. stand for in our syllabus?’ The candidate would then be required to fill in the blank with the correct acronym meaning.

Note: The FITB format is versatile, allowing educators to gauge a candidate’s recall ability and understanding of specific terms or concepts. It offers flexibility in setting up the answer, with options to provide alternative correct answers and even set a degree of spelling tolerance. This ensures that minor spelling errors don’t necessarily result in an incorrect mark.

Type of Knowledge: The FITB question type primarily focuses on the “Remember” tier of Bloom’s taxonomy. It assesses a learner’s recall ability and their understanding of specific terms, concepts, or acronyms within a given context.

Autoscored in Cirrus: Yes. The system can automatically mark the answers based on the correct responses provided by the educator, with allowances for case sensitivity and spelling tolerance. This ensures a fair and consistent assessment of each candidate’s response.

Check out the Cirrus Knowledge Base for more information about the Fill in the Blank(s) question type

Order

What it is: The Order question type in Cirrus is designed to assess a candidate’s ability to sequence or prioritise information correctly. Candidates are presented with a set of items that they must arrange in the correct order, based on the criteria provided in the question.

Example: “Arrange the following historical events in chronological order.” The candidate would then be given a list of events to order correctly based on their occurrence in history.

Note: The Order format is particularly useful for topics where sequence, hierarchy, or chronological understanding is essential. It offers a clear insight into a candidate’s comprehension of processes, timelines, or prioritisation. The platform automatically randomises the alternatives when candidates take the exam, ensuring that each candidate’s experience is unique and challenging.

Type of Knowledge: The Order question type delves into the “Apply” and “Analyze” tiers of Bloom’s taxonomy. It assesses a learner’s ability to understand sequences, processes, and hierarchies, and to apply that understanding in arranging items correctly.

Autoscored in Cirrus: Yes. The system can automatically mark the answers based on the correct sequence provided by the educator. This ensures a consistent and objective assessment of each candidate’s response.

Check out the Cirrus Knowledge Base for more information about the Order question type.

Hotspot

What it is: The Hotspot question type in Cirrus offers an interactive way to assess a candidate’s knowledge by requiring them to pinpoint specific areas on an image. This could involve identifying a particular city on a map, pinpointing a component within a mechanical diagram, or selecting a specific feature on an organism in a biological image.

Example: In a question like “Can you point to the elephant’s tusk?”, an image of an elephant would be provided. The correct area, the tusk in this case, would be predefined as the hotspot. When the candidate clicks on the correct area, they earn marks.

Note: The Hotspot format is especially useful in subjects where visual recognition and spatial understanding are crucial. It offers educators the tools to define one or more hotspots on an image, which can be drawn freehand or using shapes like rectangles and ovals. The platform provides flexibility in setting up the hotspot, with tools like Pen for freehand drawing, Rect for rectangles, Ellipse for ovals, and options to clear or delete markings.

Type of Knowledge: The Hotspot question type primarily assesses a learner’s recognition and spatial understanding, aligning with the “Understand” and “Apply” tiers of Bloom’s taxonomy. It’s particularly effective in subjects like medicine, geography, biology, engineering, and any field where visual identification is key.

Autoscored in Cirrus: Yes. The system can automatically score answers based on whether the candidate clicked within the predefined hotspot areas. Dichotomous scoring is used by default, but Polytomous scoring can also be selected, offering flexibility in marking.

Check out the Cirrus Knowledge Base for more information about the Hotspot question type.

Select from List

What it is: The Select From List (SFL) question type in Cirrus allows candidates to choose the correct answer from a dropdown list embedded within a sentence. This format tests the candidate’s ability to select the most appropriate term or phrase in context.

Example: Question: “When a company’s revenues exceed its expenses, it generates a [_____].”

Options in the dropdown list:

Deficit

Loss

Surplus

Debt

In this scenario, the candidate would select “Surplus” from the dropdown list embedded in the sentence as the correct answer.

Note: Embedding the SFL within a sentence can provide a more contextual assessment of a candidate’s understanding. It ensures that candidates can not only recall terms but also understand their appropriate usage within a statement.

Type of Knowledge: This style of SFL question assesses a learner’s ability to apply specific terms or concepts within a contextual framework. It aligns with the “Apply” tier of Bloom’s taxonomy.

Autoscored in Cirrus: Yes. The system can automatically score based on whether the candidate selected the correct term or phrase from the embedded list. Dichotomous scoring is the default, but there’s also an option for Polytomous scoring, providing flexibility in how answers are evaluated.

Check out the Cirrus Knowledge Base for more information about the Select From List question type.

Short answer

What it is: The Short Answer question type in Cirrus enables candidates to provide concise written responses to prompts. Unlike extended essay questions, these are designed for brief answers, typically spanning a few words to a single sentence. This format is ideal for assessing specific knowledge or recall of facts.

Example: Question: “What is the name of the legal Act that protects consumers from false or misleading information about goods being sold?”

Answer: “Consumer Protection Act”

Note: The precision of answers is crucial in this format. To accommodate minor variations in responses, Cirrus offers features like case-sensitivity options and spelling tolerance based on the Levenshtein-Algorithm. This ensures that slight deviations in a candidate’s answer, such as minor spelling errors, can still be recognized as correct. Cirrus also allows for the integration of media elements into the question, enhancing the depth and context of the query.

Type of Knowledge: The Short Answer question type primarily assesses a learner’s recall and understanding of specific facts or concepts. It aligns with the “Remember” and “Understand” tiers of Bloom’s taxonomy.

Autoscored in Cirrus: Yes, with the system checking the candidate’s response against the predefined correct answer. Features like case-sensitivity and spelling tolerance provide flexibility in how answers are evaluated. For instance, if “Consumer Protection Act” is the correct answer, a response like “consumer protection act” can still be deemed correct if case-sensitivity is turned off.

Check out the Cirrus Knowledge Base for more information about the Short Answer question type.

Drag and Drop

What it is: The Drag and Drop question type in Cirrus offers an interactive way to assess a candidate’s knowledge on specific topics. In the medical field, for example, this can be particularly useful for testing a student’s understanding of anatomy, processes, or even the sequence of medical procedures.

Example: Imagine an outlined human body as the background. The task could be to drag and drop labels of organs onto their correct locations in the body. The labels (responses) like “Liver”, “Heart”, “Lungs”, etc., would be provided on the side, and the candidate would need to place them correctly on the body outline (placeholders).

Note: To increase the complexity of the question, you can include distractor labels (organs or parts not visible or relevant to the displayed outline) or even use a more detailed body outline showing internal organs, muscles, and bones.

Type of Knowledge: The Drag and Drop question type in this context assesses a learner’s foundational knowledge of human anatomy. It aligns with the “Remember” and “Understand” tiers of Bloom’s taxonomy, especially when identifying and placing specific organs or body parts based on memory and understanding.

Autoscored in Cirrus: Yes, the system will automatically check the candidate’s placements against the predefined correct answers. The educator can set a maximum score for the question, ensuring that the candidate’s performance is accurately reflected in their score.

Check out the Cirrus Knowledge Base for more information about the Drag and Drop question type.

Match

What it is: The Match question type in Cirrus allows candidates to connect related items, testing their ability to recognize relationships between two sets of terms or concepts.

Example: Match the medical conditions to their appropriate treatments:

Conditions: 1) Hypertension, 2) Type 2 Diabetes, 3) Asthma

Treatments: A) Metformin, B) Inhaler, C) Beta-blockers

The correct matches are 1-C, 2-A, and 3-B.

Note: This format can be applied across various subjects, from historical dates to events or chemical compounds to their uses. It’s an effective way to evaluate a candidate’s understanding of related concepts. For added complexity, you can use the Extended Match question. This introducee distractor options that don’t have a match, challenging candidates to discern not just correct pairs but also unrelated items.

Type of Knowledge: The Match question type delves into a candidate’s comprehension and application skills. It aligns with the “Understand” and “Apply” tiers of Bloom’s taxonomy, especially when discerning relationships between paired concepts.

Autoscored in Cirrus: Yes. The system automatically checks the candidate’s matches against the correct pairs, and scores can be set to reflect their performance accurately. Always preview the question to ensure it displays as intended and is scored correctly.

Check out the Cirrus Knowledge Base for more information about the Match question type.

Extended Match

What it is: The Extended Match question type in Cirrus offers a more complex matching challenge. Unlike the standard matching format, Extended Match allows for answer options to correspond with multiple other choices or none at all, introducing distractors into the mix. This design tests candidates’ ability to discern relationships among a broader set of items.

Example: Match the following symptoms to potential medical conditions:

Symptoms: 1) Shortness of breath, 2) Frequent urination, 3) Joint pain

Conditions: A) Asthma, B) Diabetes, C) Arthritis, D) Hypertension

The correct matches could be 1-A, 2-B, 3-C, with D acting as a distractor.

Note: Extended Match questions can be particularly useful when a single symptom or feature might be indicative of multiple conditions or concepts. By introducing distractors, you can further challenge candidates to discern unrelated items.

Type of Knowledge: The Extended Match question type assesses a candidate’s analytical and comprehension skills. It aligns with the “Analyze” and “Evaluate” tiers of Bloom’s taxonomy, especially when discerning relationships among a more extensive set of paired concepts.

Autoscored in Cirrus: Yes, with options for both Dichotomous and Polytomous scoring. The system will automatically compare the candidate’s matches against the correct pairs. Scoring can be set to reflect their performance accurately, and there’s flexibility in determining how many matches a candidate can make. Always preview the question to ensure it displays as intended and is scored correctly.

Check out the Cirrus Knowledge Base for more information about the Extended Match question type.

Comprehensive Integrated Puzzle

What it is: The Comprehensive Integrated Puzzle (CIP) question type in Cirrus is a matrix-based format. Candidates are required to complete the matrix, which is designed to test their reasoning skills. The CIP format allows for a comprehensive assessment of a candidate’s ability to discern relationships among a set of items.

Example: A medical scenario can be presented where a young boy visits a doctor with specific symptoms. The matrix would list potential diagnoses in the rows, such as Constipation, Appendicitis, Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and Celiac disease. The columns would represent various diagnostic steps or treatments, like Anamnese, Physical examination, Additional examination, and Treatment. The candidate’s task is to match the appropriate diagnostic steps or treatments to each potential diagnosis.

Note: The CIP format is particularly useful in medical education and other fields where complex reasoning is required. It allows for a nuanced assessment, where candidates must discern the correct relationships among a broad set of items. The inclusion of distractors can further challenge candidates.

Type of Knowledge: The CIP question type assesses a candidate’s analytical and comprehension skills. It aligns with the “Analyze” and “Evaluate” tiers of Bloom’s taxonomy, especially when discerning relationships among a more extensive set of paired concepts.

Autoscored in Cirrus: Yes, with options for both Dichotomous and Polytomous scoring. The system will automatically compare the candidate’s matches against the correct pairs. Scoring can be set to reflect their performance accurately, and there’s flexibility in determining how many matches a candidate can make. Always preview the question to ensure it displays as intended and is scored correctly.

Check out the Cirrus Knowledge Base for more information about the Comprehensive Integrated Puzzle question type.

Financial Statement

What it is: The Financial Statement Question (FSQ) type in Cirrus is a table-based format. Candidates are required to populate the table with numeric values, which is designed to test their understanding and application of financial concepts. The FSQ format allows for a comprehensive assessment of a candidate’s ability to interpret and apply financial data accurately.

Example: A business scenario can be presented where a company’s financial transactions over a month are detailed. The table would list potential financial items in the rows, such as Revenue, Expenses, and Profit. The columns might represent different days of the month or different types of transactions. The candidate’s task is to fill in the appropriate values based on the data or case study provided.

Note: The FSQ format is particularly useful in financial education and other fields where precise data interpretation is required. It allows for a nuanced assessment, where candidates must discern the correct values among a broad set of financial data. The inclusion of formulas and calculations can further challenge candidates.

Type of Knowledge: The FSQ question type assesses a candidate’s analytical and application skills. It aligns with the “Apply” and “Analyze” tiers of Bloom’s taxonomy, especially when interpreting and applying financial data from a broader context.

Autoscored in Cirrus: Yes, with options for both Dichotomous and Polytomous scoring. The system will automatically compare the candidate’s entries against the correct values. Scoring can be set to reflect their performance accurately, and there’s flexibility in determining how values are scored.

Check out the Cirrus Knowledge Base for more information about the Financial Statement question type

Cirrus Exclusive: Programming

What it is: The Programming question type in Cirrus is a code-based format. Candidates are required to either write or debug code based on the given problem statement. The unique feature of this format is that candidates can run and evaluate their code within the platform. 

Example: A scenario can be presented where candidates are asked to write a function to find the factorial of a number. The test cases might include inputs like 5, 7, or 10, and the expected outputs would be 120, 5040, and 3628800 respectively. The candidate’s task is to write a code that, when run against these test cases, produces the expected outputs.

Note: The Programming format is particularly useful in computer science education and other fields where coding skills are essential. It offers a real-time coding environment, allowing candidates to not only write but also test their code. The inclusion of the VPL execution server ensures that the code is executed in a controlled environment.

Type of Knowledge: The Programming question type assesses a candidate’s coding, debugging, and problem-solving skills. It aligns with the “Apply” and “Create” tiers of Bloom’s taxonomy, especially when writing and debugging code to solve a specific problem.

Autoscored in Cirrus: Yes, the system automatically scores the question based on the number of test cases the candidate’s code passes. The author defines these test cases, and they serve as the benchmark for correct code output. It’s essential to ensure that the execution server is set up correctly and that the test cases are comprehensive to evaluate the code accurately.

Check out the Cirrus Knowledge Base for more information about the Programming question type.

Cirrus Exclusive: Mathematical Question with SOWISO

What it is: The Mathematical question type in Cirrus, powered by SOWISO, is an advanced format tailored to the exact sciences. Candidates are presented with open-ended items that require answers in the form of formulas. This unique format not only tests the candidate’s mathematical knowledge but also their ability to express solutions using proper mathematical notation.

Example: A scenario might be presented where candidates are tasked with simplifying a complex algebraic expression or solving a differential equation. If a question asks for the summation of a series or the solution to a trigonometric function, the candidate would provide their answer in the appropriate mathematical format. 

Note: The Mathematical question type is especially beneficial in advanced mathematics and science education. It offers a comprehensive assessment of a student’s ability to tackle complex problems and express solutions in a structured manner. It further offers a unique advantage in that it can generate questions with random parameters, ensuring each candidate receives a slightly different version of the question. This promotes genuine understanding over rote memorisation and minimises the potential for cheating. Additionally, the platform provides immediate feedback, allowing for formative assessment where candidates can learn from their mistakes in real-time.

Type of Knowledge: The Mathematical question type evaluates a candidate’s mathematical proficiency and problem-solving skills. It aligns with multiple tiers of Bloom’s taxonomy, from “Understand” and “Apply” when dealing with basic arithmetic, to “Analyse” and “Evaluate” for more complex mathematical problems.

Autoscored in Cirrus: Yes, the answers are automatically scored and checked. The system compares the candidate’s response against the correct formula or expression. Feedback can be tailored to the candidate’s specific answer, providing insights into common mistakes or misconceptions. The scoring can be set to reflect their performance accurately, with options for partial credit based on the correctness of their approach or solution. 

Check out the Cirrus Knowledge Base for more information about the Mathematical question type.

Essay

What it is: The Essay question type in Cirrus is an open-ended format that allows candidates to provide extensive, free-text answers. This format is particularly useful for assessing a candidate’s ability to articulate thoughts, structure arguments, and provide comprehensive answers. Unlike other question types, the Essay question cannot yet be auto-scored, requiring manual evaluation. However, Cirrus is collaborating with AI Essay Marking specialists Blees AI to bring AI Essay Marking to Cirrus

Example: A scenario can be presented where candidates are asked to discuss the implications of a particular historical event. The candidates would be expected to provide a well-structured essay, drawing upon relevant facts, arguments, and their own interpretations. The marking scheme might include points for accuracy, coherence, structure, and originality.

Note: The Essay format is especially valuable in humanities, social sciences, and other disciplines where in-depth textual analysis and articulation are essential. It offers a platform for candidates to showcase their analytical and writing skills. The inclusion of a word limit ensures concise and relevant responses.

Type of Knowledge: The Essay question type assesses a candidate’s comprehension, analytical, and writing skills. It aligns with the “Analyze”, “Evaluate”, and “Create” tiers of Bloom’s taxonomy, especially when discussing, arguing, or critiquing a topic in depth.

Autoscored in Cirrus: No, this question type requires manual marking. The marking scheme provided aids in ensuring consistent and fair evaluation. It’s essential to train markers adequately and ensure they are familiar with the marking scheme. The unique feature of the Essay question in Cirrus is the ability to set custom criteria-based marking, allowing for a nuanced assessment of the candidate’s response. This ensures that various aspects of the essay, such as content, structure, and originality, can be evaluated separately, providing a comprehensive overview of the candidate’s performance.

Check out the Cirrus Knowledge Base for more information about the Essay question type.

Cirrus Exclusive: File Response incl. Office 365

What it is: The File Response question type in Cirrus offers a unique feature that allows candidates to upload files as part of their answers. Integrated with Office365, this question type provides a seamless experience for candidates to work on Excel, Word, and PowerPoint files directly within the assessment environment.

Example: A scenario might involve candidates being presented with a business case study. They are required to analyse the data and present their findings in an Excel spreadsheet. The candidate would download a predefined Excel template, complete their analysis, and then upload their filled-out spreadsheet as their answer.

Note: The File Response format is especially beneficial in business, finance, and other disciplines where data analysis and presentation are crucial. It offers a platform for candidates to showcase their analytical, data handling, and presentation skills. The integration with Office365 ensures that candidates have the necessary tools at their disposal, without needing any external software. The autosave feature further ensures that candidates’ work is saved in real-time, preventing any data loss. 

Type of Knowledge: The File Response question type assesses a candidate’s data analysis, presentation, and software proficiency. It aligns with the “Apply”, “Analyze”, and “Evaluate” tiers of Bloom’s taxonomy, especially when handling real-world data, drawing insights, and presenting findings.

Autoscored in Cirrus: No, this question type requires manual marking. The marking scheme provided aids in ensuring consistent and fair evaluation. It’s essential to train markers adequately and ensure they are familiar with the marking scheme.

Check out the Cirrus Knowledge Base for more information about the File Response question type.

Crafting Questions for Depth and Breadth

Whilst specific question types are often linked with assessing particular kinds of knowledge, it’s crucial to recognise that the character of the question isn’t the sole determinant of its cognitive depth. 

At first glance, Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) might seem tailored primarily for assessing basic recall or recognition. However, with thoughtful design, they can be employed to probe deeper cognitive skills and various facets of knowledge. For instance, instead of merely asking about a straightforward fact, an MCQ can be framed to challenge a student’s analytical or evaluative skills. By presenting a complex scenario followed by options that all seem plausible, students are compelled to engage in critical thinking, discerning nuances and weighing evidence before selecting an answer. Such MCQs can effectively test understanding, application, and even analysis, moving beyond mere recall.

Similarly, Fill-in-the-Blank questions, typically associated with rote memory, can be crafted to assess higher-order thinking. Instead of asking for a missing term or date, these questions can be structured around a complex scenario where students must infer the missing piece based on their understanding of a broader concept or system. For example, in a historical context, rather than asking for a specific year, the blank could be a pivotal event or decision, requiring students to synthesise their knowledge of the period to identify the most influential factor. This transforms a simple recall question into an evaluative or synthetic one.

Cirrus, with its diverse array of question types, offers educators a robust toolkit to ensure that learners are evaluated across the full spectrum of cognitive abilities. By aligning these question formats with Bloom’s or other taxonomies, educators can craft assessments that not only gauge basic recall but also probe deeper levels of understanding, application, and analysis. This holistic approach ensures that learners are not just memorising facts but truly comprehending and internalising the knowledge. 

For more information on Cirrus Question Types and how to utilise them, please contact your Cirrus Customer Success Specialist or reach out to our Sales Team. 

Share via:
Topics
Picture of Mathijs Urbanus
Mathijs Urbanus
Mathijs heads up Cirrus' Customer Support Team. With his technical expertise and experience helping our diverse customers get the most out of Cirrus, he knows the platform like no other.
Would you like to receive Cirrus news directly in your inbox?
More posts in Cirrus Tips
Cirrus Tips

Cirrus Hidden Gems: 12 Top Exam Security Measures 

Today, we’re diving into what Cirrus has to offer to safeguard the integrity of online assessments. From specialised browsers that keep candidates on track, to AI that watches like a hawk, and real-life proctors who bring a human touch to digital exams, we’re uncovering the hidden gems that beef up your exam security.

Read More »
 

Curious about all things e-assessment?

As Cirrus looks to the future, we are excited to bring you the latest news, trends, and useful information about the industry.

 

Subscribe to the monthly Cirrus Examiner to join our ever-growing community of people passionate about the unbridled potential of EdTech.