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The Effects of Item Rearrangement on Test Performance: A Review of the Literature

Dorans, Neil J.; Leary, Linda F.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Cheating, Literature Reviews, Performance Factors, Test Construction


This review was motivated by a need to know the potential effects on item statistics and test performance of item arrangement schemes that are introduced in order to reduce the possibility of copying. Rearrangement of items poses the following question: If the items which compose a test are presented in one arrangement to one group, and the same items are then rearranged into a different sequence and administered to another group, can one assume that the two groups have taken the same test? This question can be answered by examining the invariance of item statistics and examinee performance. This review included three types of studies: those that examined the effects of different item arrangement schemes, e.g., easy-to-hard vs. hard-to-easy; those that studied the interaction of item arrangement and characteristics of examinees, e.g., anxiety level; and those that studied the effects of section placement. (27pp.)

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