n116585SE Academic Article uri icon


  • Multiple-choice (MC) tests are arguably the most widely used testing format in applied settings. In the psychometric and education literatures, research on the optimal number of options for knowledge and ability MC tests has revealed that three-option tests are psychometrically equivalent and, in some cases, superior to five-option tests. In addition, there are a number of practical, economic, and administrative advantages associated with the use of three-option MC tests. Yet, despite its advantages, the three-option format is underutilized in personnel selection. Across two studies, we compared test-taker perceptions, criterion-related validity, and sex-based subgroup differences, and in Study 1, we compared race-based subgroup differences on three- and five-option tests. Participants in the two studies completed a three- or five-option version of ACT. Test perceptions, criterion-related validity, and race- and sex-based subgroup differences were similar across test formats. The implications for the expanded use of three-option tests in applied settings and future directions for research are discussed. 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

published proceedings

  • International Journal of Selection and Assessment

author list (cited authors)

  • Edwards, B. D., Arthur, W., & Bruce, L. L.

publication date

  • January 1, 2012 11:11 AM