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Psychometrika. 2015 Dec;80(4):1105-22. doi: 10.1007/s11336-014-9425-x. Epub 2014 Aug 21.

Analyzing Test-Taking Behavior: Decision Theory Meets Psychometric Theory.

Author information

1
Depertament of Psychology, Fordham University, 441 East Fordham Road, Bronx, NY, 100458 , USA. budescu@fordham.edu.
2
Depertament of Psychology, Fordham University, 441 East Fordham Road, Bronx, NY, 100458 , USA.

Abstract

We investigate the implications of penalizing incorrect answers to multiple-choice tests, from the perspective of both test-takers and test-makers. To do so, we use a model that combines a well-known item response theory model with prospect theory (Kahneman and Tversky, Prospect theory: An analysis of decision under risk, Econometrica 47:263-91, 1979). Our results reveal that when test-takers are fully informed of the scoring rule, the use of any penalty has detrimental effects for both test-takers (they are always penalized in excess, particularly those who are risk averse and loss averse) and test-makers (the bias of the estimated scores, as well as the variance and skewness of their distribution, increase as a function of the severity of the penalty).

KEYWORDS:

decision theory; formula scoring; guessing; loss aversion; mis-calibration of probabilities; multiple-choice tests; partial information

PMID:
25142256
DOI:
10.1007/s11336-014-9425-x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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