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ERIC Number: EJ1088403
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
Ackerman, Terry
Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, v41 n1 p90-93 Feb 2016
In this commentary, University of North Carolina's associate dean of research and assessment at the School of Education Terry Ackerman poses questions and shares his thoughts on David Thissen's essay, "Bad Questions: An Essay Involving Item Response Theory" (this issue). Ackerman begins by considering the two purposes of Item Response Theory (IRT) that Thissen focuses on in his article, namely, item selection (evaluating the quality of items) and computing comparable scores (e.g., computerized testing). Ackerman suggests two additional uses: (1) providing a means to investigate differential item/test functioning; and (2) evaluating the accuracy of ability estimation along the latent ability scale (i.e., using the IRT information function). He states that the latter aids testing practitioners in designing tests to optimize estimation accuracy around a cut score or level of proficiency in licensure and certification testing. Next, Ackerman discusses several questions raised in Thissen's article: the question of model fit; "Is the test unidimensional?"; "Are IRT scores estimates on an interval scale of measurement?"; "Is <insert name of student> proficient?"; and "Is <insert name here> an effective teacher?" Ackerman concludes that he finds the questions to be foundational to good measurement. Yet it would have been helpful if the Thissen identified the source of the bad questions. Further, Ackerman comments that a few more real-world examples to highlight and articulate the underlying misconceptions (i.e., where theory broke down) and potential solutions, given the purpose of the assessment might be helpful. [For David Thissen's essay, "Bad Questions: An Essay Involving Item Response Theory," see EJ1088364.]
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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