Item analysis theoretical background

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I am trying to understand what the state of the art is with Item analysis. I am struggling to find my way into the literature, but have started this page to record my progress. So far the following references were found after several hours in the OU library around classmark 371.26.--Tim Hunt 05:58, 30 November 2007 (CST)


J J Barnard, Item Analysis in Test Construction pp. 195-206, in Geofferey N Masteres & John P Keeves 1999 Advances in Measurement in Educational Research and Assessment, Pergamon.

  • Mentions two topics "Classical Test Theory" and "Item Response Theory".
  • "Item analysis is not a substitute for the originality, effort and skill of the item writer and relatively poor statistical results can be overruled on logical grounds."
  • "The two most basic statistics computed and examined during item analysis are the items' difficulty and discrimination values."
  • The difficulty if basically the average score for the item. The higher the average score, the easier it is.
  • When computing this average, you have to decide whether to ignore students who did not submit an answer, or to include them as zero score. And you have to consider that in a timed test, questions near the end are more likely to be missed.

R L Ebel 1972, Essentials of Educational Measurement, Prentice Hall.

There was a new edition of this book by Ebel And Frisbie in 1991.

William A Mehrens & Irvin J Lehmann 1973, Measurement and Evaluation in Education and Psychology, Holt Rinehart and Winston Inc.

R L Thorndike 1971, Educational Measurement, American Council on Education.

These last two have probably both been superseded by

R L Thorndike 2004, Measurement and Evaluation in Psychology and Education (Seventh edition), Prentice Hall.

See also