skip to main content skip to footer

Exploring Item Characteristics That Are Related to the Difficulty of TOEFL Dialogue Items TOEIC ESL TOEFL

Author(s):
Kostin, Irene W.
Publication Year:
2004
Report Number:
RR-04-11, TOEFL-RR-79
Source:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Report
Page Count:
59
Subject/Key Words:
Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC), English as a Second Language (ESL), Item Characteristics

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between a set of item characteristics and the difficulty of TOEFL® dialogue items. Identifying characteristics that are related to item difficulty has the potential to improve the efficiency of the item-writing process The study employed 365 TOEFL dialogue items, which were coded on 49 variables, including 5 significant variables reported in Nissan, DeVincenzi, and Tang (1996). Of the 5 significant variables in Nissan et al., 3 correlated significantly with item difficulty in this study. Another 11 met a critical probability criterion. These 11 included representatives from three broad categories of variables: 2 in the category of word-level factors, 1 in the category of discourse-level factors, and 8 in the category of task-processing factors. Multiple regression analyses indicate that the variables in this study account for about 40% of the variance in item difficulty.

Read More