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Principles and procedures of considering item sequence effects in the development of calibrated item pools: Conceptual analysis and empirical illustration

Author(s): Safir Yousfi | Hendryk F. Böhme

Journal: Psychological Test and Assessment Modeling
ISSN 2190-0493

Volume: 54;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 366;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: context effects | sequence effects | item calibration design | item pool development

Item responses can be context-sensitive. Consequently, composing test forms flexibly from a calibrated item pool requires considering potential context effects. This paper focuses on context effects that are related to the item sequence. It is argued that sequence effects are not necessarily a violation of item response theory but that item response theory offers a powerful tool to analyze them. If sequence effects are substantial, test forms cannot be composed flexibly on the basis of a calibrated item pool, which precludes applications like computerized adaptive testing. In contrast, minor sequence effects do not thwart applications of calibrated item pools. Strategies to minimize the detrimental impact of sequence effects on item parameters are discussed and integrated into a nomenclature that addresses the major features of item calibration designs. An example of an item calibration design demonstrates how this nomenclature can guide the process of developing a calibrated item pool.
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