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An Evaluation of Forced-Choice and True-False Item Formats in Personality Assessment PRF

Bevan, Ann R.; Jackson, Douglas N.; Neill, John A.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Ontario Mental Health Foundation, College Students, Forced Choice Technique, Personality Assessment, Personality Research Form (PRF), Test Validity


In a comparative evaluation of a standard true-false format for personality assessment and a forced-choice format, subjects from college residential units were assigned randomly to respond either to the forced-choice or standard true-false form of the Personality Research Form (PRF). All subjects also rated themselves and the members of their residential units on behavior traits corresponding to the PRF scales. Reliabilities of the scales comprising the truefalse form were substantially higher than those in the forced-choice form. Peer rating validities for the truefalse and forced-choice forms were in a comparable range, but correlations with self-ratings were higher for the true-false form. Results do not support the contention that for personality scales a forced-choice format is consistently more valid than a standard format. Considering the otheradvantages of the true-false format, including its freedom from the complicating effects of ipsative scores, the use of this format is recommended for the great majority of applications in personality assessment. (Author) (26pp.)

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