True-False Questions

True-false questions are typically used to measure the ability to identify whether statements of fact are correct. The questions are usually a declarative statement that the student must judge as true or false.

Strengths:

  • Can cover a lot of content in a short time (about two questions per minute of testing time)
  • The question is useful when there are only two possible alternatives.
  • Less demand is placed on reading ability than in multiple-choice questions.
  • Can measure complex outcomes when used with interpretive exercises.
  • Scoring is easy and reliable.

Limitations:

  • Difficult to write questions beyond the knowledge level that are free from ambiguity.
  • False statements provide no evidence that the student knows the correct answer.
  • Scores are more influenced by guessing than with any other question type.
  • Cannot discriminate between students of varying ability as well as other questions.
  • Requires that the answer to the question is absolutely true or false.

Tips for writing true/false questions

  • Construct statements that are definitely true or definitely false, without additional qualifications.
  • Use relatively short statements.
  • Eliminate extraneous material.
  • Keep true and false statements approximately the same length.
  • Include an equal number of true and false questions.
  • Test only one idea in each question.
  • Have students circle T or F for each question rather than write the letter which can lead to debate.
  • Avoid verbal clues, specific determiners (e.g., the, a, an), and complex sentences.
  • Avoid absolute terms such as, never or always.
  • Do not arrange answers in a pattern (i.e., TTFFTTFF, TFTFTF).
  • Avoid taking statements directly from text.
  • Always state the question positively.

Common Formats

Scantron with A or B Responses

Circle Format

Circle Format with Correction

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