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College Entrance Examination Board Item Difficulties of Mathematics Achievement Tests SAT

Swineford, Frances
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
College Board Achievement Tests, College Entrance Examinations, Difficulty Level, Mathematics Tests, Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), Test Items


In December 1949, achievement examinations in intermediate mathematics and advanced mathematics were used for the first time in the College Board afternoon program. Members of the Mathematics Section of the Test Development Department feel somewhat handicapped from a lack of precise knowledge of the level and range of item difficulty which is appropriate for these tests. It is the purpose of this study to determine the most effective item difficulties in terms of Board deltas. Since Board deltas have been well established for the Scholastic Aptitude Test, and since a large proportion of the groups who take the achievement tests also take the SAT, it was decided to select samples who took the achievement tests and the SAT, to compute their deltas for the SAT mathematics items, and then to compare the results with the standard Board deltas for the same items.

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