ERIC Number: ED171782
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Can Developmental Status Information Be Obtained From Wrong Answers?
Powell, J. C.
The educational significance of wrong answers on multiple choice tests was investigated in over 4,000 subjects, aged 7 to 20. Gorham's Proverbs Test--which requires the interpretation of a proverb sentence--was administered and repeated five months later. Four questions were addressed: (1) what can the pattern of answer choice, across age, using frequencies of response as the raw data, indicate about the psychometric properties of learner development; (2) what process/product inferences might be drawn from these outcomes; (3) is the total correct score adequate for evaluating achievement; and (4) is the cumulative learning hypothesis valid--this hypothesis implies that the principal source of meaning is found in the frequency of right answers, or in interactions between right answers. Analyses considered various interactions between two right answers, one right answer and the wrong answer in another item, wrong answers in both items, equivalent ages, and equivalent student groups. The results suggested that learning involves a complex hierarchical sequence of interactive non-linear events; analysis of error patterns is more meaningful than frequency counts; total correct scores are only adequate for evaluation of simple recall; and the cumulative learning hypothesis is not valid for complex cognitive processes. (GDC)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: International Business Machines Corp., Armonk, NY.; Ontario Educational Research Council, Toronto.
Authoring Institution: Windsor Univ. (Ontario).
Identifiers: Distractors (Tests); Proverbs Tests
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council on Measurement in Education (San Francisco, California, April, 1979)