The cognitive characteristics of paragraph comprehension
items were studied by comparing models that
deal with two general processing stages: text representation
and response decision. The models that were
compared included the prepositional structure of the
text (Kintsch & van Dijk, 1978), various counts of
surface structure variables and word frequency (Drum
et al., 1981), a taxonomy of levels of text questions
(Anderson, 1972), and some new models that combine
features of these models. Calibrations from the linear
logistic latent trait model allowed evaluation of the
impact of the cognitive variables on item responses.
The results indicate that successful prediction of item
difficulty is obtained from models with wide representation
of both text and decision processing. This suggests
that items can be screened for processing difficulty
prior to being administered to examinees.
However, the results also have important implications
for test validity in that the two processing stages involve
two different ability dimensions.
Embretson, Susan E & Wetzel, C. Douglas. (1987). Component latent trait models for paragraph comprehension tests. Applied Psychological Measurement, 11, 175-193. doi:10.1177/014662168701100207
Embretson, Susan E.; Wetzel, C. Douglas.
Component latent trait models for paragraph comprehension tests.
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