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Content Characteristics of GRE Analytical Reasoning Items

Powers, Donald E.; Chalifour, Clark L.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
GREB-84-14P, RR-88-07
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Analytical Ability Tests Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Item Analysis


This study involved coding the content characteristics of some 1,400 GRE analytical reasoning items. These characteristics were correlated with indices of item difficulty, discrimination, and independence from the verbal and quantitative measures. Several item characteristics were predictive of the difficulty of analytical reasoning items. Generally, these same variables also predicted item discrimination, but to a lesser degree. Independence from the GRE verbal and quantitative measures was largely unpredictable. The results suggest several content characteristics that could be considered in extending the current specifications for analytical reasoning items. The use of these item features may also contribute to greater efficiency in developing such items. Finally, the influence of these various characteristics also provides a better understanding of the construct validity of the analytical reasoning item type.

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