This blog was started as my reflections on the 2011 Change MOOC. It is now an on going journal of my thoughts on Higher Education, specifically teaching Biology.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

True or False

Last week, I learned to take the comments regarding MOOC participation to heart. I got busy at work putting out fires, and lost track. I'm still reviewing blog posts so nothing major to add right now.
So what I wants to talk about today is one assessment form that I really like: true or false questions. I know that many people hate them, and consider them only for rote memorization. Maybe it is my background in symbolic logic, but I see TF questions as more than rote memorization. I see them as statements for critical analysis. Is the statement true? With out reading behind the words, or looking for the authors meaning, does the statement have truth functionality. It is not about substituting a wrong word, or changing a date by one year. Instead, it is about using common misconceptions and seeing if the student can find the flaw in the statement.
One of the problems I've seen in my students is a difficulty in analyzing simple statements. It becomes progressively harder to get them to analyze paragraphs and even whole works without this skill. TF questions get to this analysis.