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Differential Weighting of Multiple-Choice Items

Budescu, David V.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Item Analysis, Multiple Choice Tests, Psychometrics, Scoring, Test Validity


This paper outlines a technique for differentially weighting options of a multiple choice test in a fashion that maximizes the item predictive validity. The rule can be applied with different number of categories and the "optimal" number of categories can be determined by significance tests and/or through the R2 criterion. Our theoretical analysis indicates that more complex scoring rules have higher item validities, higher item variances, higher score variances, and are also likely to increase the inter-item correlations and the test reliability. A plausible explanation for the apparent paradox of lack of improvement in the test validity, based on the relation between interitem correlations and item validities, is offered. (22pp.)

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