Two general categories of items: Objective and non-objective items (McDonald, 1999). Objective items are those that involve no subjectivity when scoring responses. Conversely, non-objective (or subjective) items are items that leave some room for subjectivity in scoring. Given their preponderance in survey methodology, we concentrate here on objective items.
Types of objective items: Objective items come in many different forms, several of which are shown below (see McDonald, 1999), for a more extensive review of item types):
Completion items state a problem, and the respondent must generate an answer.
Completion item example:
Example: 5 + 4 = ____
Multiple-choice items provide a question stem and several answer options; the test taker must select one (or more) of the options as the optimal answer.
Multiple-choice item example:
The mean of a distribution is a measure of location standard deviation variance range
Ordered-category items allow respondents to register their response on a graded continuum, which is a very common approach to measuring many behavioral outcomes.
Ordered-category item example: