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TRUE/FALSE TESTS GROUP #3 October 22/2011

INTRODUCTION In the most basic format, true-false questions are those in which a statement is presented and the student indicates in some manner whether the statement is true or false.

Skill levels evaluated by True/False tests True-false questions are well suited for testing student recall or comprehension. Students can generally respond to many questions, covering a lot of content, in a fairly short amount of time. From the teacher's perspective, these questions can be written quickly and are easy to score.

While true-false and other forced choice questions are generally used to measure knowledge and understanding, they could also be used at higher levels. The student: Analyzes a statement Assesses whether true or false Marks an answer


 Appropriate for all levels of cognitive ability objective  Efficient in testing recall and comprehension of a broader content area relative to other testing strategies  Well suited to test recall, comprehension of simple logic or understanding, as with "if-then" "causal/because" statements  Useful for automated scoring  Useful for item analysis, internal and over time


 Scoring tends to be high since guessing yields a 50-50 score (half right half wrong) as a base. i.e. if there are 100 items, and the student knows the correct answer to 50, and guesses on the other half, the score will be 75 knowing only half the material.  Since the stem can cue a correct answer, guessing is enhanced without really understanding the question  The format does not provide diagnostic information on why a student got it wrong  It may be easy to cheat

Why do students tend to answer True or False?

Because random guessing will produce the correct answer half the time, true-false tests are less reliable than other types of exams. However, these items are appropriate for occasional use. Some faculty who use true-false questions add an "explain" column in which students write one or two sentences justifying their response.  Words like "sometimes, often, frequently, ordinarily, generally" open up the possibilities of making accurate statements. They make more modest claims, are more likely to reflect reality, and usually indicate "true" answers.

Every part of a true sentence must be "true" If any part of the sentence is false, the whole sentence is false despite many other true statements. Absolute words restrict possibilities. "No, never, none, always, every, entirely, only" imply the statement must be true 100% of the time and usually indicate "false" answers

Why should be the True/False questions ratio?  Research indicates that students tend to mark "true" when guessing blindly, thus false items discriminate better between high and low ability students. At the same time, students tend to quickly pick up on patterns of responding. To prevent response-bias and effectively assess understanding, instructors should include an equivalent number of true and false items within the assessment.

To prevent rote memorization of trivial facts or general knowledge, avoid using exact wording from the textbook. A well-designed true-false item is very effective for assessing the accuracy of statements, understanding of definitions, and novel applications of theories or principles.

Some tips in reference to True or False tests:  Statements should be relatively short and simple.  True statements should be about the same length as false statements. (There is a tendency to add details in true statements to make them more precise.)  The answers should not be obvious to students who don't know the material.

 Be sure to include directions that tell students how and where to mark their responses.  Finally, arrange the statements so that there is no discernible pattern of answers (such as T, F, T, F, T, F and T, T, F, F, T, T, F, F) for True and False statements.  Avoid  Unfamiliar vocabulary and concepts  Long strings of statements  Ambiguous statements and generalizations

EXAMPLES  T F Poor: "The Raven" was written by Edgar Allen Poe.  T F Better: "The Raven" was written by Edgar Allan Poe.  T F Poor: The square of the hypotenuse of a right triangle equals the sum of the squares of the other two sides.  T F Better: If the hypotenuse of an isosceles right triangle is 7 inches, each of the two equal sides must be more than 5 inches.


True/False tests can be used for different skill levels and they measure knowledge and understanding as well as students recalling information.