Explain quantitative item analysis and qualitative item analysis. What are their benefits to learning and assessment? What are the risks to learning and assessment if these types of analyses are not administered? Finally, provide two examples of imperfect test items for your peers to qualitatively analyze. Explain why you think it is necessary for teachers to use a combination of both qualitative and quantitative item analysis.
Quantitative Item Analysis and Qualitative Item Analysis are measurements used for evaluation the effectiveness of test structures, performance assessments, and essay questions, and they judge the legitimacy of academic structures and comprehension expectations requirements to the methods in which they are being tested. Through these types of analysis, it is determined whether or not methods of tests and their results are meeting the requirements, and assures the students are staying on the same page for the academic spreadsheets as a whole. With either of these methods the qualities of test and measurements are evaluated, in regards to how they engage the materials, and the scores that students achieve, to help to define changes that are necessary within the methods The adjustments or changes are intended to better the students experience and comprehension, and to fairly and adequately address the academics being scored but observing the validity of the various methods.
When applying the first type of item analysis, the quantitative item analysis, it deals with and helps mostly with ideas and developments of test items. It reconsiders scores in how they resulted as of the orders and matters of questions that decide the marks or scores for an area of academia. Quantitative methods identify problem areas, strengths and weaknesses, in structural itemized tests. In the textbook, it states, “As mentioned, quantitative item analysis is a technique that will enable us to assess the quality or utility of an item. It does so by identifying distractors or response options that are not doing what they are supposed to be doing,”(p.228). Quantitative item analysis is mainly objective and applicable to exams that are multiple choice or answers that are already defined to be chosen from. It is restricted to these types of courses and these types of exams, but are useless for rating essays for example. Essays are too subjective, and for these types of exams, the other item analysis is more effective.
Qualitative item analysis would be a measurement of test items on the more subjective elements, such as long answers and essay exams. This approach tackles the more essay type exams, where the student provides the majority of the information, as opposed to a typical bubble sheet test. The textbook states, “Essentially, when we talk about qualitative item analysis, we are talking about matching items and objectives and editing poorly written items,”(p.234). For example, an essay test may be poorly written if the students answers all vary on the connections and clarity of expectation. Qualitative item analysis is perfect for measuring these types of issues, in order to define verbally and concretely what is to be expected for students to earn the most possible points. When an essay question is vague or swallow, and the students are required to respond, but with apprehension as to what is being asked, it can deter the students from understanding course materials and confuse them even more. With this item analysis, those issues can be addressed, and even though the issues are subjective, it can help to improve word choices and better the outcomes for students in the courses. It will work with any type of test that is different from traditional multiple choice or short answers, and helps to deduce the compounds of essay questions and exams to bring about clarity and conciseness in expectations.
Both the quantitative item analysis and qualitative item analysis methods are useful in scoring and bettering the exams written by educators, and the methods can help educators to reedit and revamp test materials to make it the most beneficial and effective for both the students and the educator. Both methods are useful, just useful for different types of assessments, but nonetheless, the two methods are continually intertwined.
“Quantitative item analysis is useful but limited. It points out items that have problems but does not tell us what the problems are. It is possible that an item that fails to measure or match an instructional objective could have an acceptable difficulty level, an answer that discriminates positively, and distactors that discriminate negatively. In short, quantitative item analysis is fallible. To do a thorough job of test analysis, one must use a combination of quantitative and qualitative item analysis, and not rely solely on one or the other. In other words, there is no substitute for carefully scrutinizing and editing items and matching test items with objectives,”(p234-235). If educators can become familiar with their own test methods and the item analysis methods set forth to help better the testing strategies, then both types of analysis are dependant on each other for functions and outcomes. Just like most test, whether objective or subjective, are intended for the same outcome, it is the practice and knowledge of the methods that ensures their proper use and proper application to academic testing structures and allowing the test structures to evolve and growth through the years of teaching the courses. The more we educators are able to identify flaws and inconsistencies, then the quicker we can evolve our testing structures and strategies.
Examples of imperfect testing strategies:
Essay Item Example:
Explain the significance of Ernest Hemingway’s novels.
First of all the question is too vague and open to way to many different responses. If the teacher defines what books and what significances they are looking for, and adds a few more questions to the essay, they are much more likely to get adequate results.
Multiple Choice Example:
What types of apples are there?
This is also poorly structured, because there is no clarity, and all answers could apply based on observation or opinion of the apples colors. Test questions must be specific and not have more than one correct answer, and must not be tricky.