ERIC Number: ED227448
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Centrality and Reading Comprehension Test Questions.
Johnston, Peter; Afflerbach, Peter
A study examined the nature of the questions contained in two major standardized reading comprehension tests in terms of their centrality to the text. It was hypothesized that the use of a discrimination index for item selection would tend to favor relatively trivial questions. Half the reading selections from the Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test (SDRT), which gives more weight to item discrimination indexes, and the Metropolitan Reading Test (MRT), which does not, were randomly selected. The multiple choice questions that followed each reading selection were transformed into statements by adding the correct answer to the question stem. Thirty faculty and graduate students from a school of education read each of the 10 passages and were asked to rate each statement on a four-point scale as to whether it was central or peripheral to comprehension of the passage. Thirty-seven percent of the items from the SDRT were rated peripheral, while only 12% of the items from the MRT were so rated. When the mean for all statement ratings was figured, the statements from the SDRT were found to be significantly more peripheral than those from the MRT. Since the Stanford manual clearly states that discrimination indices played a large part in decisions about which items to include, the finding adds some credence to the suggestion that an emphasis on the discrimination index in test item selection will tend to favor more trivial items. (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Discrimination Index
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the New York State Reading Association (16th, Kiamesha Lake, NY, November 2-5, 1982).