Item Types in Computer-Based Testing

The advent of computer-based testing, the ability to deliver and score tests electronically, has opened a prime opportunity to expand the types of questions that can be presented in a testing environment.


Computer-based test designers and developers commonly refer to questions as test items. This classification works well in a computerized testing environment and establishes a common language among testing professionals. Test items can be further categorized into item types. One with which everyone should be familiar is the multiple-choice item type. Computer-based testing, however, enables us to provide a variety of item types.


Not all tests include all item types, and different item types can be used to test for different cognitive skills or knowledge levels. Interestingly, very few item types actually test an individual’s ability to perform a task.


One consideration when deciding what item types to use is the technical capability of the test engine. Some test engines have limited ability to effectively render some items, and overall performance must be considered.



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