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Shell Shocked: True or false tests lead to true or false success

By Staff | Sep 27, 2012

True or false? True or false tests are the gold standard in educational testing. This statement is true because the true or false technique enables students to hold onto information longer. It beats having to write and memorize one true statement a hundred times on a blackboard. By exaggerating the inaccuracy of either a true or false statement, such as true or false Italian salami grows on trees in the Tuscany region, students become better prepared in later life to look for Italian salami trees in Australia.

Are you with me so far? True or false?

Let’s test out the benefits of learning through identifying true or false statements.

True or false: Art Stevens is the greatest columnist who ever wrote for the Islander. His contributions to the American literary scene have been applauded by such other great humanitarians as Samuel Adams (the man, not the beer), Sergei Rachmaninoff (the composer, not the NBA star), Ty Cobb, Troy Aikman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Clint Eastwood and Melky Cabrera.

This statement is false because Art Stevens is not the greatest columnist who ever wrote for the Islander. That distinction goes to John Gotti, the much celebrated Mafia chief who nonetheless wrote an endearing column for the Islander some years back on life inside the mob. Gotti would entertain Islander readers with his keen insights into mob protocol, announcements of new dons, recent whacks, and spaghetti recipes. His column won the coveted Elliott Ness journalistic award for irreverent insights into nebulous subjects.

True or false: Sanibel is the most revered tourist attraction in the U.S.

This statement is indeed false. The most revered tourist attraction in the U.S. is the 125th Street subway station in Harlem. This tourist stop has been made famous by impromptu performances by the likes of Millard Fillmore, Joseph Stalin, Babe Ruth and Mae West. In between the roar of incoming subway trains, waiting passengers were treated to impromptu performances by these historic powerhouses. It was during one such impromptu performance that future U.S. president Millard Fillmore came up with his most memorable line: “Where’s the beef?”

True or false: Blackened fish are healthier than standard cooked fish because of genetically induced fusion of hot peppers, arsenic and old lace.

This statement is true. Blackened fish has been scientifically proven to add five years to your life if you can live those years without ever quenching your thirst.

True or false: Table manners, as postulated by Emily Post, haven’t changed for the better in thirty years.

This statement is indeed false. Table manners, particularly among America’s teenagers have improved to the point where even Emily Post, wherever she may be now, is kvelling over the effect she has had on our ability to distinguish between a knife and a fork. The only problem is that most teenagers don’t use knives or forks anymore because the junk food they eat doesn’t require their use.

Teenagers use their hands to eat and there has been growing sophistication over which fingers are used for which fast foods. For example, a Big Mac requires the use of the entire right hand while French fries only require the thumb and forefinger. The downside of this trend is that at home teenagers eat their oatmeal with their fingers.

True or false: A new scientific device will now be able to divert all Florida hurricanes to Greenland. This statement is true. An inventor by the name of Don Quixote has developed a windmill that not only slays dragons but can suck the wind out of high flying clouds and blow them in the direction of the North Pole. But because this device has been popularized by Al Gore it has been disavowed by hard core Republicans

And, finally, true or false: The Sanibel Islander will now publish a daily newspaper. This statement is neither true nor false. It falls into the category of gossip, unsubstantiated rumors and a viral infection. And speaking of viral infections, I hope you’ll excuse me while I take two aspirins and be true to myself but false to the universe.