VCE final exams – the best multiple choice decoy runners

“After just 1 term, I am noticing that my students are in a better position to tackle exams by basing our revision around SmarterMaths worksheets.”
Adrian Kruse, Macarthur Anglican College


When looking at the multiple choice results in the VCAA Exam Reports, a sports analogy came to mind.

An attacking move to score a goal in sport benefits immensely from high qulaity decoy runners. You could say, in certain cases, it is great decoys that actually make the play.

In the same way, a good multiple choice question depends in large part to the quality of the incorrect answer options or decoy answers.

In some very rare instances, one of the multiple choice decoy runners is so convincing that more students choose it than the actual correct answer. In some cases, this can accurately be described as a “so what?” observation. However, in a majority of cases (IMHO), this outlier result can be very instructive.

If more students choose a specific incorrect answer than the correct one, within five possible choices, there is a great opportunity for a teacher to pinpoint where a common misunderstanding or knowledge gap lies.

In the last two VCE final exams, this has occurred:
– FURMATHS* … 4/56 (2021), 4/70 (2020) … read 4 times out of 56 multiple choice questions etc
– METHODS … 1/20 (2021), 3/20 (2020)
– SPECIALIST … 1/20 (2021), 2/20 (2020)
*Note 5 out of the 8 Furmaths examples are from the Networks module.

Interested teachers can find the exact questions referred to be below:

Smartermaths 2022 Recent Updates

  • All 2021 final exam papers are now fully uploaded in all courses.
  • 2021 VCAA Exam Report information is now integrated into all courses, flagging question difficulty and mean marks when below 50%.
  • Sub-category filters for targeting exact questions and concepts now cover 80% of all topics and growing.
  • SmarterMaths Y7-10 Numeracy programs were launched last term. They offer adaptive online testing (including NAPLAN practice exams) at prices from $1.50 per student. Learn more here.

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Matt Burgess