ERIC Number: ED338671
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985
Reference Count: N/A
Computerized Diagnostic Testing: Problems and Possibilities.
McArthur, David L.
The use of computers to build diagnostic inferences is explored in two contexts. In computerized monitoring of liquid oxygen systems for the space shuttle, diagnoses are exact because they can be derived within a world which is closed. In computerized classroom testing of reading comprehension, programs deliver a constrained form of adaptive testing and error performance summary. However, the world is open; diagnostic inferences cannot be made with precision, and additional practical factors play an important role in delimiting the usefulness of such a system. Problems of uncertainty, negation, and non-deterministic prediction are also discussed. If test materials for computerized administration can be designed within tightly controlled parameters, and if the diagnostic strategy can be strongly tied to theory about performance errors within the topic domain, then many of the ambiguities of diagnostic inference will be closer to resolution. It is concluded that, given the number of limits both of a philosophical nature and in reference to actual testing practice, the role of computers will be supplementary to the educational diagnostic specialist. There is a 14-item list of references. (Author/SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing, Los Angeles, CA.