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Methods of Objective Test Construction

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路 Rational Method: the basis of this approach is to come up with items that seem directly, obviously and rationally related to what it is the test developer wishes to measure, sometimes done through careful derivation from a theory of the trait in which the researcher is interested. This method of testing includes data gathered through self-reports. Tests are self-report questionnaires that participants answer questions about themselves, normally done in a true or false method or by an 11 point scale. An example of a question answered with a point scale: “I often think about what I would do if I did poorly in an academic situation.” This testing technique has four conditions that must be met in order for the test to be measured accurately. An example of the rational method of testing is the self-test found in magazines, though they are said to almost always fail at least two or three of the four conditions for validity.

路 Factor Analytic Method: this method of test construction is an example of a psychological tool based on statistics. The factor analytic technique is designed to identify groups of things, such as test items, that seem to be alike. To use this technique to construct a personality test, researchers begin with a long list of objective items and administer these items to a large number of participants. Then a factor analysis is done to find patterns of co-occurrence in the items. This finds what the items have in common, and then a factor is named. This method also has three limitations that may affect the results of testing. Tests are in a questionnaire format that participants are asked to answer in a true-false format. Examples of tests of the factor analytic method are self-monitoring test.

路 Empirical Method: this strategy is an attempt to allow reality to speak for itself. The assumption of this method is that certain kinds of people have distinctive ways of answering certain questions. Researchers administer test items to participants and compare answers given by the different groups of participants. This method is also in a true-false questionnaire format. The MMPI is an example of the empirical method of test construction. A great advantage of this method is that, unlike other tests of straightforward S-data variety where a person can describe themselves the way they want to be seen, it is difficult to know how to answer questions in such a way as to guarantee the score.

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