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Characteristics of True-False, Matching & Interpretive Exercise Questions

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In this lesson, we will examine three of the test item formats that teachers may choose from when creating assessments for their classrooms, including True-False, Matching, and Interpretive Exercise.

Test Formats

Teachers write many of their own assessments to use throughout a learning segment. Which test format you use will depend on what type of information you hope to gain from your test. True-False, Matching, and Interpretive Exercise Questions are among the format choices. Let's find out what the advantages and disadvantages are of each of these test question formats.

True-False Questions

True-False test items, also referred to as alternative-response questions, are used to assess a student's ability to determine whether a statement is correct. For example, 'George Washington was the first President of the United States.' Students would answer 'True' because this is a factual statement. True-False questions are popular because of their versatility. These types of questions can be used in any content area.

They are easily converted into comprehension checks using signaled responses for quick formative assessments. Signaled responses are physical motions that are used to answer questions, such as thumbs up or thumbs down. Formative assessments are checks for understanding that take place throughout a learning segment to monitor student progress so that teachers can make quick adjustments to their delivery to meet student needs.

True-False questions are easy to write and easy to grade in an objective way, making them ideal for situations in which there is a great deal of content to cover in an assessment. However, for any given question, students have a 50-50 chance of guessing the correct answer. Scores are likely skewed due to a student's ability to correctly guess the right choice. Feedback is limited since the answers do not indicate why the student chose a particular answer.

Matching Questions

Matching test items consist of two lists of items. For each item in List A, there is an item in List B that is related. Students are responsible for finding the related pairs. Another type of matching test item is constructed similarly to a multiple choice question, except that there may be more than one answer selected.

For example, a teacher may write a matching test in which students match figurative language terms to definitions.

List A:

  • metaphor
  • onomatopoeia
  • alliteration

List B:

  • a word that is used as a sound effect
  • the repetition of beginning consonant sounds
  • things that are not similar that are compared to highlight a similar trait.

Like True-False questions, matching questions are versatile and easy to grade. Matching questions work well for assessing vocabulary and identifying relationships, such as cause and effect. However, they do not provide much information about why students received wrong answers and it is likely that students will guess at least some of the answers through process of elimination by the end of the test.

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