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Items by Design: The Impact of Systematic Feature Variation on Item Statistical Characteristics

Enright, Mary K.; Morley, Mary; Sheehan, Kathleen M.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
GREB-95-15R, RR-99-20
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Algebra Data Analysis Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Item Analysis Item Characteristics Mathematics Skills Reasoning Ability Word problems (Mathematics)


This study investigated the impact of systematic item feature variation on item statistical characteristics and the degree to which such information could be used as collateral information to supplement examinee performance data and reduce pretest sample size. Two families of word problem variants for the quantitative section of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) General Test were generated by systemically creating item variants. However, questions of how best to manage variants in item pools and to implement statistical procedures that use collateral information must still be resolved.

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