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Choosing: A Test

Thissen, David; Wainer, Howard
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Advanced Placement Examinations, Constructed-Response Tests, Optional Items, Test Reliability, Testlets


If examinees are permitted to choose to answer a subset of the questions on a test, by knowing only which questions were chosen we can obtain a measure of proficiency that may be as reliable as would have been obtained from the test graded traditionally. This new method of scoring is much less time consuming and less expensive for both the examinee and the testing organization. Moreover, because of the decreased response burden we would expect that its use may reduce the nonresponse rate in such low impact educational assessments as the NAEP. We recommend that in assessments that allow the examinee to choose among a set of items, an attempt be made to encourage the examinee to record the item that will be answered before they are actually attempted. In this way we may be able to obtain much of the information that would have been contained in the actual responses, even if the examinee chooses finally not to answer. (11pp.)

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