Item Difficulty Adjustment Study: GRE Verbal Discretes

Adams, Richard; Carson, John; Cureton, Kevin
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Difficulty level item analysis test construction verbal tests


The purpose of this study was to determine whether it is both possible and cost-effective to revise middle- difficulty GRE discrete items in order to produce items of higher or lower difficulty. It was found that it is significantly easier to increase the difficulty of middle-difficulty items than to reduce the difficulty of such items, and that the difficulties of antonyms and analogies are much easier to manipulate than those of sentence completions. The evidence also suggests that producing harder analogies and antonyms by revising items in this manner would be a cost-effective procedure.

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