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Guessing on multiple-choice test

Published: 24/08/2011 12:32:00 AM GMT
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In the American education system, a type of test used is the multiple-choice test. On this type of test, there is a question and the test gives multiple answers to choose from (usually 4 or 5). As fas as I know, most teachers do not mind their students guessing, and some teachers make the questions difficult so that the grades will still reflect the person's knowledge. What is the ruling on a Muslim taking a guess on these test? Is this a lie? Also, on all tests, if a student is a little unsure about an answer, can he or she still put down that answer he thinks is right?

Answered by

the Fatwa Department Research Committee - chaired by Sheikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî

Guessing on a test is not unlawful. It is not a form of cheating. It is up to the student to answer to the best of his or her knowledge. A guess still falls within that category, as the test taker is not benefiting from outside knowledge when he or she makes a guess.

What is unlawful is for the student to cheat by looking at a cheat sheet or at another student’s paper. In this case, the student is benefiting from knowledge that he or she does not really possess and is therefore guilty of a deliberate deception.

It is up to the test developers to decide how to handle guesses and uncertain answers. If a test developer wants to, he or she can give a penalty for wrong answers (usually a -1/4 point on a test where a correct answer is valued at a single point) to discourage guessing. This is a lawful practice for the test developers as long as it is applied to all students equally, just as guessing is a lawful practice for the test takers, since no dishonesty is involved.

And Allah knows best.

Source: Islam Today

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