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An Exploratory Study of Programmed Tests SCAT STEP

Cleary, T. Anne; Linn, Robert L.; Rock, Donald A.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Adaptive Testing, Computer Assisted Testing, School and College Ability Tests (SCAT), Sequential Tests of Educational Progress (STEP)


One approach to the reduction of testing time is through the use of "programmed tests," which are tests based on a sequential system of branching in which a subject is directed to items appropriate to his or her ability level. The programmed tests considered in the present paper comprised two major sections: (1) A routing section which contains the branching necessary to direct the subject to the appropriate items, and (2) a measurement section which contains a short test with the item difficulties concentrated at the appropriate level for the subject. Four methods were investigated on an existing item data for 885 students. By using approximately 40 items in the programmed tests it was possible to obtain correlations with the total test score on 190 items that were quite close to the reliability of the 190-item test. However, essentially the same results were achieved for two shortened conventional tests consisting of the 40 or 42 items with the highest point-biserial correlations with the total test score.

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