A comparison of parametric and nonparametric approaches to item analysis for multiple-choice tests

Pui wa Lei, Stephen B. Dunbar, Michael J. Kolen

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8 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study compares the parametric multiple-choice model and the nonparametric kernel smoothing approach to estimating option characteristic functions (OCCs) using an empirical criterion, the stability of curve estimates over occasions that represents random error. The potential utility of graphical OCCs in item analysis was illustrated with selected items. The effect of increasing the smoothing parameter on the nonparametric model and the effect of small sample on both approaches were investigated. Differences between estimated curve values for between-model within-occasion, within-model between-occasion, and between-model between-occasion were evaluated. The between-model differences were minor in relation to the within-model stabilities, and the incremental difference attributable to model was smaller than that attributable to occasion. Either model leads to the same choice in item analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-587
Number of pages23
JournalEducational and Psychological Measurement
Volume64
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Applied Mathematics

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