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Adjusting Scores on Examinations Offering a Choice of Essay Questions

Livingston, Samuel A.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Difficulty Level, Equated Scores, Essay Tests, Scoring Formulas, Test Items


When test takers are offered a choice of essay questions, some questions may be harder than others. If the test includes a common portion taken by all test takers, an adjustment to the scores is possible. Previously proposed adjustment procedures disregard the test makers' efforts to create questions of equal difficulty; these procedures tend to make larger adjustments when the scores to be adjusted are less correlated with scores on the common portion. This paper suggests an adjustment procedure that makes smaller adjustments when the correlation between the scores to be adjusted and the scores on the common portion is weak. The paper includes a derivation of the adjustment formula and a numerical example of the resulting adjustment. (24pp.)

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