NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1125354
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Jan
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1644
Improving Measures via Examining the Behavior of Distractors in Multiple-Choice Tests: Assessment and Remediation
Sideridis, Georgios; Tsaousis, Ioannis; Al Harbi, Khaleel
Educational and Psychological Measurement, v77 n1 p82-103 Jan 2017
The purpose of the present article was to illustrate, using an example from a national assessment, the value from analyzing the behavior of distractors in measures that engage the multiple-choice format. A secondary purpose of the present article was to illustrate four remedial actions that can potentially improve the measurement of the construct(s) under study. Participants were 2,248 individuals who took a national examination of chemistry. The behavior of the distractors was analyzed by modeling their behavior within the Rasch model. Potentially informative distractors were (a) further modeled using the partial credit model, (b) split onto separate items and retested for model fit and parsimony, (c) combined to form a "super" item or testlet, and (d) reexamined after deleting low-ability individuals who likely guessed on those informative, albeit erroneous, distractors. Results indicated that all but the item split strategies were associated with better model fit compared with the original model. The best fitted model, however, involved modeling and crediting informative distractors via the partial credit model or eliminating the responses of low-ability individuals who likely guessed on informative distractors. The implications, advantages, and disadvantages of modeling informative distractors for measurement purposes are discussed.
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; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A