Write Effective Fill-in-the-Blank Activities
Fill-in-the-blank Activities present learners a statement with a missing word or phrase, followed by the correct answer and several distractors (typically 1-3). This Activity type tests a learner’s ability to recognize the correct answer.
When using the fill-in-the-blank Activity format, we recommend the following best practices:
- Test one idea per Activity (one blank per Activity)
- Keep statements short
- Make the blank the same size in every Activity
- Provide enough information in the statement so that learners understand what is being asked
- Try to put the blank near the end of the statement
- Ensure all answer options are related and grammatically similar, including the distractors
- Avoid giving grammatical hints
For example, if a statement ends with “an __________”, learners will know the answer starts with a vowel. Either rewrite the statement or use “a(n) __________” instead.
In the poor Activity, the blank appears near the start of the statement, which means learners need to read it once to understand the context, and then a second time when determining what option fills in the blank.
The poor Activity provides a grammatical hint. Since the statement ends with “a,” learners know the answer must be “damaged.” Instead, rewrite the statement using “a(n),” or ensure that all the answer options start with a vowel.