NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1088375
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Feb
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1076-9986
Discussion of David Thissen's Bad Questions: An Essay Involving Item Response Theory
Wainer, Howard
Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, v41 n1 p100-103 Feb 2016
The usual role of a discussant is to clarify and correct the paper being discussed, but in this case, the author, Howard Wainer, generally agrees with everything David Thissen says in his essay, "Bad Questions: An Essay Involving Item Response Theory." This essay expands on David Thissen's statement that there are typically two principal purposes of using item response theory (IRT) in the contexts of assessments of educational achievement by stating that tests typically have one of three principal purposes: (1) Measuring instruments--How much do these students know? How much have they learned over this year?; (2) Contests--Who won? Who do we accept? Who gets the job? Who gets the scholarship?; and (3) Prods--Can Johnny come out to play? David Thissen's discussion was almost solely concerned with tests as measuring instruments, which is the newest use of tests, and only goes back a century or so. The other purposes have been recognized for millennia. Howard Wainer suggests that providing stability to inferences when sample sizes are small is a use of IRT, in addition to the two uses mentioned in David Thissen's essay. [For David Thissen's essay, "Bad Questions: An Essay Involving Item Response Theory," see EJ1088364.]
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A