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A Note on Gain Scores and Their Interpretation in Developmental Models Designed to Measure Change in the Early School Years

Rock, Donald A.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Adaptive Testing, Criterion-Referenced Testing, Gain Scores, Reading Education, Elementary Education


This paper presents a strategy for measuring cognitive gains in reading during the early school years. It is argued that accurate estimates of gain scores and their appropriate interpretation requires the use of adaptive tests with multiple criterion referenced points that mark learning milestones. It is further argued that two different measures of gain are necessary because of the non-equivalence of scale score points. Empirical results are presented in support of the use of adaptive tests with multiple criteria referenced scale points for the measurement of gain.

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