True - False Questions

strict warning: Only variables should be passed by reference in /var/www/drupal6/modules/book/book.module on line 559.




Characteristics of true/false questions

  • Used to measure ability to identify whether statements of facts, principles, generalizations, relationships, or evaluative statements are correct
  • Can be factual or can be a thought question that requires reasoning
  • Can be used in most disciplines
  • Used to quickly poll a class as an introduction to a discussion or determine knowledge of topic

Example - good

The true/false item is also called an alternative-response item.

a. True
b. *False

Example - bad

The true-false item, which is favored by all test experts, is also called an alternative-response item.
a. True
b. *False
Main error: The question contains two ideas and therefore is confusing.

Advantages of true/false questions

  • Quite easy to write
  • Easy to score
  • Scoring is objective
  • More information is sampled from a lot of content


  • Measures only low level of learning - facts, knowledge, comprehension
  • Need a larger number of items to distinguish stronger and weaker knowledge levels.
  • Students have a 50 percent chance of being correct, just by chance.
  • May be perceived as an unfair judgment of learning
  • Encourages guessing since there are only two alternatives.

Special thanks to The Schreyer Institute for their contributions to these documents.