ERIC Number: ED400327
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
An Analysis of the Dimensionality of TOEFL Reading Comprehension Items. TOEFL Research Reports, 53.
Schedl, Mary; And Others
The issue of what exactly is measured by different types of reading items has been a matter of interest in the field of reading research for many years. Language teaching and testing specialists have raised the question of whether a reading test for foreign students wishing to enter a university in the United States should include questions testing abilities beyond linguistic and very general discourse competencies, or indeed whether it is possible to separate these language competencies from other competencies. This study investigates the dimensionality of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) reading test, based on the specifications in use as of April 1991. Of particular interest was whether four item types identified in the test specification as "reasoning items" could be shown to measure, in addition to general reading ability, any abilities not measured by the other item types in the test. Two techniques, Stout's procedure and NOHARM analyses, were used to investigate the hypothesized two-factor model. In both cases the data failed to fit the model, indicating that TOEFL "reasoning items" cannot be shown to measure a unique construct. However, the followup exploratory analyses indicated that all 10 test forms used in the study violated the assumption of essential unidimensionality, and all of the forms appeared to fit a two-factor model where the second factor may be related to passage content or position. (Contains 4 tables, 7 figures, and 20 references.) (Author/SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ.
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Test of English as a Foreign Language