3.3 Restricted Response Test

The freedom of response provided by essay questions is not an all or nothing affair but, rather, a matter of degree. At one extreme, the response is almost as restricted as that in the short answer objective item, in which a sentence or two may be all that is required. At the other extreme, pupils are given almost complete freedom in a making their responses, and their answers may require several pages. Although variations in freedom of responses tend to fall along a continuum between these extremes, essay questions can be conveniently classified into two type, the restricted response type and the extended response type.The restricted response question usually limits both the content and the response. The content is usually restricted by the scope of the topic to be discussed. Limitations on the form of generally indicated in the question. response are Another way of restricting responses in essay tests is to base the questions on specific problems. For this purpose, introductory material like that used in interpretive exercises can be presented. Such items different from objective interpretive exercises only by the fact that essay questions are used instead of multiple-choice or true false items.Because the restricted response question is more structured, it is most useful for measuring learning outcomes requiring the interpretation and application of data in a specific area. In fact, any of the learning outcomes measured by an objective interpretive exercise can also be measured by a restricted response essay question. The difference is that the interpretive exercise required pupils to select the answer, whereas the restricted response question requires them to supply it. In some instances, the objective interpretive exercise is favored because of the ease and reliability of scoring. In other situations, the restricted response question is better because of its more direct relevance to the learning outcome (e.g., the ability to formative valid conclusions).

Although restricting pupils’ response to essay questions makes it possible measure more specific learning outcomes, these same restrictions make them less valuable as a measure of those learning outcomes emphasizing integration, organization, and originality. Restricting the scope of the topic to be discussed and indicating the nature of the response desired limit the pupil’s opportunity to demonstrate these behavior. For such outcomes, greater freedom of response is needed.


1.It measures more specific learning out comes.

2. It is more objective than extended response questions.

3.It is more reliable than extended response questions.

4.Scoring is easy as compared to extended response questions.

5.It can sample wide range of contents.


1. Students feel restriction in expressing ideas complety.

2.It is less objective and reliable than objective type questions.

3.Writing abilities cannot be assessed.

4.Difficult to construct as number of questions needed are more than extended response questions.

5. Critical ideas and problem solving skills can not be asked and measured.

Extended Response Questions:

The extended response question allows pupils to select any factual information that they think is pertinent, to organize the answer in accordance with their best judgment, and to integrate and evaluate ideas as they deem appropriate. This freedom enables them to demonstrate their ability to select, organize, integrate, and evaluate ideas. On the other hand, this same freedom makes the extended response question in efficient for measuring more specific learning outcomes and introduces scoring difficulties that severely restrict its use as a measuring instrument.It seems more sensible to identify the complex behaviors we want to measure, formulate questions that elicit these behaviors, evaluate the results as reliably as we can, and then use these admittedly inadequate data as the best evidence we have available.


1. Students feel complete freedom to express theideas.

2.It is used to present, integrate and evaluate the ideas.

3.It measures complex learning outcomes that cannot be measured by other type of questions.

4.Easy to construct as few questions are needed.

5. Copying is difficult.


1.Cannot measure specific learning outcome.

2.Scoring is subjective and unreliable.

3. Scoring is difficult.

4.Sampling of the contents is inadequate.

5.Success or failure may be due to choices.

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