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How not to word true and false questions

So, although I did pretty horrible on my final anthropology exam, I am still breathing a sigh of immense relief. I would have to miss 50 of the 100 questions to get anything below a C in that class. And at this point, as the saying goes “C’s get degrees.” I am done with college. I have done everything I could and the burden is no longer mine to carry.

But, before I dismiss the whole final exam, I would like to point out a good part of why I feel I did horrible has to do with the test format and wording. First, 100 questions — true and false?! Second, half of the questions were based on lectures the professor himself was not present to give (he has cancer and missed several weeks of classes) and when he was were difficult to understand and hear (a large lecture with students constantly shifting, a room in an old building with loud air conditioning and heating, and a still thick accent that was only briefly punctated by bursts of cursing and offensive rants). Overall, it was a very unimpressive class and quite possibly the worst class I took during my undergraduate time. The final reason I feel I did horrible lies in the questions wording.

I will provide you with some samples of questions taken from the actual test to help everyone see why this test was ridiculous:

  • Hunters and gathers, the Archaic folk in the classificatory scheme we have used in this course, demonstrate by simplicity of their lives, how incompetent and uninventive they were for something like half a million years.
  • When we look at our own wasteful behavior in dealling with scarce natural resources, we can not help but admire prehistoric “primitive” man for the way his life fits harmoniouslly into an organic whole. He truly lives in tune with nature, having learnt how to conserve his natural resources.
  • The best access the ordinary citizen has to the relics of the past is the Museum, although a field season digging is likely to show the novice that the study of Man’s cultural “left-overs” can be less than exciting.

Those are actual questions. To his credit, the questions from the book were decidely more straight-forward and unbiased. But still. I felt like I was doing algebra trying to eliminate any statements that were obviously true to see if any false ones remained. It was tedious and unnecessary. Those are NOT the types of questions you should be asking in true and false format.

But who cares. I’m done with my educational career. Now on to my real career.

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