True/false items are relatively easy to prepare since each item comes rather directly from the content. They offer the instructor the opportunity to write questions that cover more content than most other item types since students can respond to many questions in the time allowed.They are easy to score accurately and quickly.
True/false items, however, may not give a true estimate of the students’ knowledge since students have a 50/50 chance of guessing the correct answer.They are very poor for diagnosing students’ strengths and weaknesses and are generally considered to be “tricky” by students.Since true/false questions tend to be either extremely easy or extremely difficult, they do not discriminate between students of varying ability as well as other types of questions.
Knowledge level contentEvaluating student understanding of popular misconceptionsConcepts with two logical responses
Keep language as simple and clear as possible.Use a relatively large number of items (75 or more when the entire test is T/F). Avoid taking statements verbatim from the text. Reformulate principles or use examples, rather than use the same language as the text or reference materials, especially stereotyped phrases, to avoid encouraging reliance on rote memorization.Randomize the sequence of true and false statements.
Avoid negatively worded statements in general and particularly double negatives. If the statement cannot be formulated positively, be sure to emphasize negative terms with underlining or bolding. Do not use "specific determiners," such as "always", "never", "every", just to make a proposition false; conversely, do not use qualifiers such as "usually", "often", and "seldom" only in true statements. Such terms can serve as extraneous cues to test wise students unless the pattern of their use is varied.
Write items that test significant material, not trivial details. The correct answer should require the specialized knowledge being tested, not common sense.Word items precisely so that they can be unequivocally determined to be true or false. The keyed response should be clearly defensible and agreed on by experts in the field.Focus each item on a single idea so that students do not have to deal with the possible truth or falsity of two or more propositions at once. Compound statements can sometimes be divided into two separate items.
If a proposition expresses a relationship, such as cause and effect or premise and conclusion, present the correct part of the statement first and vary the truth or falsity of the second part.Use somewhat more false than true statements because false statements discriminate better between high-ability and low- ability students. (Students tend to mark true more often than false when guessing blindly.)Make true and false items of approximately equal average length throughout the test.