ERIC Number: EJ1162353
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Dec
Abstractor: As Provided
Cognitive Validity: Can Multiple-Choice Items Tap Historical Thinking Processes?
Smith, Mark D.
American Educational Research Journal, v54 n6 p1256-1287 Dec 2017
Cognitive validity examines the relationship between what an assessment aims to measure and what it actually elicits from test takers. The present study examined whether multiple-choice items from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) grade 12 U.S. history exam elicited the historical thinking processes they were designed to measure. Think-aloud data from 27 accomplished high school students revealed that in no instances did students engage in the intended processes. Rather, the items typically elicited three construct-irrelevant processes: factual recall/recognition, reading comprehension, and test-taking strategies. Further, findings revealed that although the items often prompted students to engage in factual recall, they were often not sound indicators of student knowledge. Implications for history testing and alternative forms of assessment are discussed.
Descriptors: History, Thinking Skills, Tests, Alternative Assessment, Validity, Recall (Psychology), Reading Comprehension, Test Items, Correlation, Multiple Choice Tests, Protocol Analysis, High School Students, National Competency Tests, Grade 12
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: National Assessment of Educational Progress
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A