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Tests and the Rest: College Admissions Industry Podcast


Jul 28, 2023

The difficulty of individual multiple-choice questions depends on far more than just the questions themselves, as any test taker who has struggled to differentiate between several tempting choices can attest. Amy and Mike invited educator Vinny Madera to share his research on answer traps on standardized tests.

What are five things you will learn in this episode?

  1. What is an answer trap, and why do they exist?

  2. What is a distractor answer choice?

  3. What are common types of math distractor choices on standardized tests?

  4. What are common types of verbal distractor choices on standardized tests?

  5. How does knowledge of trap choices help students?

MEET OUR GUEST

Vinny Madera is the guy who shapes Test Prep Wizards and helps the team determine the most effective and efficient ways to get the results students need. Tutoring in some capacity since college, Vinny decided in 2007 to become a full-time tutor and works directly with over 800 students per year through his classes and individual students. Aiding numerous school districts, private institutions, and tutoring companies, Vinny has developed all Test Prep Wizards’ reporting software and has written the company’s SAT and ACT manuals, which have been licensed by many school districts as an efficient, low-cost means of helping their students. 

Vinny is a huge nerd fan of data and statistics, moonlighting as a math enthusiast at Fairfield University where he teaches a variety of math courses and freshman experience workshops. He brings this love of numbers and trends to Test Prep Wizards in the form of its state-of-the-art analysis programming. Vinny is the author of Demystifying the Calculator: A Guide to Using the TI-84 PLUS CE on the ACT

Vinny appeared on the podcast in episode #141 to discuss Tracking Test Score Data, in episode #225 to discuss Calculator Usage On The SAT And ACT, and in episode #340 SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT: Test Prep Wizards Score Reporting.

Find Vinny at testprepwizards.com or vinny@testprepwizards.com.

LINKS

The Position of Distractors in Multiple-Choice Test Items: The Strongest Precede the Weakest

A Comparison of the Two-Option Versus the Four-Option Multiple-Choice Item: A Case for Fewer Distractors

Three Options Are Optimal for Multiple‐Choice Items: A Meta‐Analysis of 80 Years of Research 

Knowledge-Driven Distractor Generation for Cloze-Style Multiple Choice Questions

Multiple-Choice Item Distractor Development Using Topic Modeling Approaches

Advanced Answer Elimination Strategies

RELATED EPISODES

COMMON TESTING MISTAKES AND HOW TO AVOID THEM

WHY PRACTICE TESTS MATTER SO MUCH

USING STUDENT SELF-ANALYSIS TO IMPROVE INSTRUCTION

ABOUT THIS PODCAST

Tests and the Rest is THE college admissions industry podcast. Explore all of our episodes on the show page.

ABOUT YOUR HOSTS

Mike Bergin is the president of Chariot Learning and founder of TestBright. Amy Seeley is the president of Seeley Test Pros. If you’re interested in working with Mike and/or Amy for test preparation, training, or consulting, feel free to get in touch through our contact page.