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Sample size and test length minima for DIMTEST with conditional covariance-based subtest selection

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The existing minima for sample size and test length recommendations for DIMTEST (750 examinees and 25 items) are tied to features of the procedure that are no longer in use.

The existing minima for sample size and test length recommendations for DIMTEST (750 examinees and 25 items) are tied to features of the procedure that are no longer in use. The current version of DIMTEST uses a bootstrapping procedure to remove bias from the test statistic and is packaged with a conditional covariance-based procedure called ATFIND for partitioning test items. Key factors such as sample size, test length, test structure, the correlation between dimensions, and strength of dependence were manipulated in a Monte Carlo study to assess the effectiveness of the current version of DIMTEST with fewer examinees and items. In addition, the DETECT program was also used to partition test items; a second feature of this study also compared the structure of test partitions obtained with ATFIND and DETECT in a number of ways. With some exceptions, the performance of DIMTEST was quite conservative in unidimensional conditions. The performance of DIMTEST in multidimensional conditions depended on each of the manipulated factors, and did suggest that the minima of sample size and test length can be made lower for some conditions. In terms of partitioning test items in unidimensional conditions, DETECT tended to produce longer assessment subtests than ATFIND in turn yielding different test partitions. In multidimensional conditions, test partitions became more similar and were more accurate with increased sample size, for factorially simple data, greater strength of dependence, and a decreased correlation between dimensions. Recommendations for sample size and test length minima are provided along with suggestions for future research.

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  • 2012

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The accuracy of accuracy estimates for single form dichotomous classification exams

Description

The use of exams for classification purposes has become prevalent across many fields including professional assessment for employment screening and standards based testing in educational settings. Classification exams assign individuals

The use of exams for classification purposes has become prevalent across many fields including professional assessment for employment screening and standards based testing in educational settings. Classification exams assign individuals to performance groups based on the comparison of their observed test scores to a pre-selected criterion (e.g. masters vs. nonmasters in dichotomous classification scenarios). The successful use of exams for classification purposes assumes at least minimal levels of accuracy of these classifications. Classification accuracy is an index that reflects the rate of correct classification of individuals into the same category which contains their true ability score. Traditional methods estimate classification accuracy via methods which assume that true scores follow a four-parameter beta-binomial distribution. Recent research suggests that Item Response Theory may be a preferable alternative framework for estimating examinees' true scores and may return more accurate classifications based on these scores. Researchers hypothesized that test length, the location of the cut score, the distribution of items, and the distribution of examinee ability would impact the recovery of accurate estimates of classification accuracy. The current simulation study manipulated these factors to assess their potential influence on classification accuracy. Observed classification as masters vs. nonmasters, true classification accuracy, estimated classification accuracy, BIAS, and RMSE were analyzed. In addition, Analysis of Variance tests were conducted to determine whether an interrelationship existed between levels of the four manipulated factors. Results showed small values of estimated classification accuracy and increased BIAS in accuracy estimates with few items, mismatched distributions of item difficulty and examinee ability, and extreme cut scores. A significant four-way interaction between manipulated variables was observed. In additional to interpretations of these findings and explanation of potential causes for the recovered values, recommendations that inform practice and avenues of future research are provided.

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  • 2013

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Assessment of item parameter drift of known items in a university placement exam

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ABSTRACT This study investigated the possibility of item parameter drift (IPD) in a calculus placement examination administered to approximately 3,000 students at a large university in the United States. A

ABSTRACT This study investigated the possibility of item parameter drift (IPD) in a calculus placement examination administered to approximately 3,000 students at a large university in the United States. A single form of the exam was administered continuously for a period of two years, possibly allowing later examinees to have prior knowledge of specific items on the exam. An analysis of IPD was conducted to explore evidence of possible item exposure. Two assumptions concerning items exposure were made: 1) item recall and item exposure are positively correlated, and 2) item exposure results in the items becoming easier over time. Special consideration was given to two contextual item characteristics: 1) item location within the test, specifically items at the beginning and end of the exam, and 2) the use of an associated diagram. The hypotheses stated that these item characteristics would make the items easier to recall and, therefore, more likely to be exposed, resulting in item drift. BILOG-MG 3 was used to calibrate the items and assess for IPD. No evidence was found to support the hypotheses that the items located at the beginning of the test or with an associated diagram drifted as a result of item exposure. Three items among the last ten on the exam drifted significantly and became easier, consistent with item exposure. However, in this study, the possible effects of item exposure could not be separated from the effects of other potential factors such as speededness, curriculum changes, better test preparation on the part of subsequent examinees, or guessing.

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  • 2012