Business students are often warned not to change multiple-choice answers once an original selection has been made. This "conventional wisdom," that the first answer selected usually is the correct answer, is in contrast with the conclusions of research in the education and psychology fields. This study extends these earlier studies by using students in accounting principles I and principles II classes, and by examining whether the type of question (numeric or non-numeric) affects answer-changing behavior. On average, for every point lost roughly three points were gained by changing answers for both groups. Additionally, gender was found not to be a factor on the net point gain/loss of the student. Question type did not influence the overall tendency to change answers for the principles I group; however, the principles II students changed fewer numerical question answers than non-numerical answers. Also, some tendency was shown for males to change more answers than females when type of question and direction of change were analyzed. Overall, the findings clearly evidence the benefit of changing multiple-choice answers if a student believes his/her original selection to be incorrect.
Copyright © 1991 Marshall A. Geiger. First publication rights: Accounting Educators' Journal. This article first appeared in The Accounting Educators' Journal, Winter 1991,119-27.
Please note that downloads of the article are for private/personal use only.
Geiger, Marshall A. "The Myth of 'Conventional Wisdom' on Changing Multiple-Choice Answers." The Accounting Educators' Journal, Winter 1991, 119-27.