[Rasch] item bank

Donald Bacon dbacon at du.edu
Thu Oct 12 06:28:21 EST 2006

Hi Iasonas (and others) --
   I agree with Agustin.  Items on a test are assumed to be sampled from a domain of all possible questions.  If you distribute the items in advance, we are no longer taking a random sample of knowledge, so we can't make inferences about the knowledge domain.  I recommend distributing a detailed description of the knowledge domain (a.k.a., learning objectives), but not the questions themselves.
Don Bacon 
Associate Professor of Marketing
Daniels College of Business
University of Denver
dbacon at du.edu, 303-871-2707


From: rasch-bounces at acer.edu.au on behalf of Agustin Tristan
Sent: Wed 10/11/2006 12:30 PM
To: -Rasch
Subject: [Rasch] item bank

Hello Iasonas.
I think the main question is not if the items are multiple choice or open responses with an item bank. In many countries (including Mexico and other Latin American countries), some people say that there is no reason to have the item bank under so high security measures, they believe that if you publish (in a book, on the web or whatever other media, that is not the issue) for instance a bank of 300 questions (or 100 or 1000, that is not the issue either) and if the students are able to "learn" (mostly to memorize) the 300 questions this is a good thing, they say this is preferable than to have a student who doesn't know anything....300 memorized questions is better than nothing, so when they will face the test (a subset of these questions) they will obtain high notes, they will show the higher stakes, and our national education will improve.
I hope you may see the falacies of this reasoning.
If the national education system tries to develop abilities, knowledge and competencies in our students, a certain part of this knowledge is produced using the memory, BUT not to memorize 300 items, education is more than that.
For instance:
If the system wishes to develop critical thinking, and the items in the bank concern this ability, BUT the student did memorize the items, they will use the memory but will not develop critical thinking.
Repeat the same argument with other abilities and objectives of the national education system and you will see that an "open" item bank is a wrong solution.
One of the main falacies is that people needs to know THE ITEMS, I agree they need to know the areas, subjects, topics, level of complexity, but not the item. For instance if the doctor asks me to do a blood analysis to measure several substances and organic parameters, I have to know several things concerning the test: I don't have to eat at least for 12 hours before the test (or 6 or whatever previous time), and I don't have to drink alcohol or some other substances in a specific time, but if you drink or eat something, you may provide false results (in favor or against you). I hope to have a healthy situation, but I don't do anything specific to obtain false good results.  Why we expect this in our health and not in education? The educational test is like a medical test: I wish to have a real and good "picture" of what I am able to do, to know, to produce...in many countries and places, persons wants to get good results, not a good picture. If everybody obtain good results, but this is not true, how can we improve the educational situation of our students?  The test is the mean not the goal.
We have the idea to educate people and evaluate people for a specific purpose, I expect that to get high scores in a test is not the main purpose of education.
Hope this helps.


Mariano Jiménez 1830 A 
Col. Balcones del Valle 
78280, San Luis Potosí, S.L.P. México 
TEL (52) 44-4820 37 88, 44-4820 04 31 
FAX (52) 44-4815 48 48 
web page (in Spanish AND ENGLISH): http://www.ieesa-kalt.com


Get your own web address for just $1.99/1st yr <http://us.rd.yahoo.com/evt=43290/*http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/domains> . We'll help. Yahoo! Small Business <http://us.rd.yahoo.com/evt=41244/*http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/> . 

More information about the Rasch mailing list