Is there any reason not to include fantasy distractors (made-up wrong answers) in multiple choice tests.
Examples: What is the name of the compound HCl?
a) Hydrochloric acid
b) Chlorohydride acid
c) Chlorohydric acid etc
What is the term for a parasite that cannot complete its life cycle without its host?
a) Obligate parasite (correct)
b) Parasitic obligate (fantasy word)
c) Mandatory parasite (fantasy combination)
Fantasy distractor definition: Usually one chooses distractors that a student could confuse with the correct answer, based on knowledge of common cognitive models of the field. I call a fantasy distractor a distractor that is a made-up word - typically it would be used for testing/learning complex terms that consist of a combination of etymological roots by rearranging them or mixing them up.
Potential concerns: How high is the risk that students remember the fantasy distractor? What is the best practice on such fantasy items?
Rationale for having fantasy items: The reason for asking is that it seems having a greater number of distractors can make the test more of a retrieval test than a recognition test. Getting plausible non-fantasy distractors (eg in chemistry can be tough).