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Cognitive Psychology and the SAT: A Review of Some Implications SAT

Bejar, Isaac I.; Embretson, Susan; Mayer, Richard E.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Cognitive Psychology, Response Style (Tests), Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), Test Validity


Most of this paper is devoted to an explication of the linkage of cognitive principles with psychometric considerations for an outcomes-oriented test like the SAT. The essence of that linkage is an accounting of the differences in difficulty among items. This understanding can be viewed as an additional requirement for construct validity, which until recently focused almost exclusively on an accounting of the covariation of test scores in terms of "abilities." Explaining covariation and item difficulty are now equally important aspects of validation. Although work from this enlarged validational perspective on SAT items is limited, research on analogy and reading comprehension items suggests that the SAT will fare well when relevant studies are conducted. (69pp.)

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