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Reactions to a Very Difficult Test by an Inner-City High School Population: A Test and Item Analysis PSAT

Flaugher, Ronald L.; Pike, Lewis W.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
RM-70-11, RDR-69-70, No. 04
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
College Board, Aptitude Tests, Disadvantaged Youth, High School Students, Item Analysis, Multiple Choice Tests, Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT), Test Interpretation, Urban Youth


The item and test statistics from two groups of inner-city high school youths revealed several distinctive patterns when they were contrasted with the Routine group towards which the test was directed. Specific differences between the Special and Routine groups were found regarding reactions to speededness, cautiousness (item omission), and attractiveness of different types of items. When these results are viewed in reference to the theory of test construction and the proper interpretation of test performance, it is apparent that these Special populations cannot be regarded as simply a diminished version of the Routine populations. The interpretation here is that different processes are being tapped in these divergent populations.

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