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ERIC Number: ED139825
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1977-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
A Comparison of Information Functions of Multiple-Choice and Free-Response Vocabulary Items. Research Report 77-2.
Vale, C. David; Weiss, David J.
Twenty multiple-choice vocabulary items and 20 free-response vocabulary items were administered to 660 college students. The free-response items consisted of the stem words of the multiple-choice items. Testees were asked to respond to the free-response items with synonyms. A computer algorithm was developed to transform the numerous free-responses entered by the testees into a manageable number of categories. The multiple-choice and the free-response items were then calibrated according to Bock's polychotomous logistic model. The study demonstrated that vocabulary items presented in a free-response format can provide more information than similar items presented in a multiple-choice format. Two probable sources of this superiority are: (1) obtaining a correct response by guessing is not possible using the free-response format, and information lost, due to the uncertainty about whether testees answered correctly because they knew the answer or because they guessed, is recovered; and (2) more latitude in degree of correctness is present in free-response items than is typically present in multiple-choice items and a testee's degree of partial knowledge is easier to assess. These advantages apparently overshadowed any deficiencies present in the machine-scoring algorithm employed. (Author/MV)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Naval Research, Arlington, VA. Personnel and Training Research Programs Office.
Authoring Institution: Minnesota Univ., Minneapolis. Dept. of Psychology.