Construction Versus Choice in Cognitive Measurement: Issues in Constructed Response, Performance Testing, and Portfolio Assessment

By Randy Elliot Bennett; William C. Ward | Go to book overview

CHAPTER
6
ITEM CONSTRUCTION AND PSYCHOMETRIC MODELS APPROPRIATE FOR CONSTRUCTED RESPONSES

Kikumi K. Tatsuoka

Educational Testing Service

Recent developments in cognitive theory suggest that new achievement tests must reflect several important aspects of performance, including the cognitive processes underlying problem solving, dynamic changes in students' strategies, and the structure or representation of knowledge and cognitive skills ( Glaser, 1985). These measurement objectives require a new test theory that is both qualitative and quantitative in nature. Achievement measures must be both descriptive and interpretable in terms of the processes that determine performance. Traditional test theories have shown a long history of contributions to American education through supporting norm-referenced and criterion-referenced testing.

Scaling of test scores has been an important goal in these types of testing, but individualized information such as diagnosis of misconceptions has never been a main concern. In these contexts the information objectives for a test will depend on its intended use. Standardized test scores are useful for admissions or selection purposes, but such scores cannot provide teachers with useful information for designing remediation. Formative uses of assessment require new techniques; this chapter tries to introduce one such example.

Constructed-response formats are desirable for measuring complex and dynamic cognitive processes ( Bennett, Ward, Rock, & LaHart, 1990), whereas multiple-choice items are suitable for measuring static knowledge. Birenbaum and K. Tatsuoka ( 1987) examined the effect of the response format on diagnosis and concluded that multiple-choice items may not provide appropriate information for identifying students' misconceptions. The constructed-response

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