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Item discrimination: when more is worse
Journal of Educational Measurement (1988)
  • Geoff N Masters

High item discrimination can be a symptom of a special kind of measurement disturbance introduced by an item that gives persons of high ability a special advantage over and above their higher abilities. This type of disturbance, which can be interpreted as a form of item bias, can be encouraged by methods that routinely interpret highly discriminating items as the best items on a test and may be compounded by procedures that weight items by their discrimination. The type of measurement disturbance described and illustrated in this paper occurs when an item is sensitive to individual differences on a second, undesired dimension that is positively correlated with the variable intended to be measured. Possible secondary influences of this type include opportunity to learn, opportunity to answer, and test wiseness.

  • Item discrimination,
  • Bias,
  • Difficulty level,
  • Discriminant analysis,
  • Item analysis,
  • Test items,
  • Test wiseness
Publication Date
Spring 1988
Citation Information
Geoff N Masters. "Item discrimination: when more is worse" Journal of Educational Measurement Vol. 25 Iss. 1 (1988)
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