INTRODUCTION TO THE SAMPLE READING TEST: FORM 23

The sample Reading Test was an operational form administered in 1984. It has been released to provide information about the test. While it continues to serve as an example of the content and difficulty level of the test, the gender-biased language evident here, especially in the first passage, is avoided on more recent forms. We have agreed to honor the request of instructors to reserve the more recent non-secure passages and questions for classroom use rather than public release. Note that all material in the test is copyrighted.

Presented along with the passages and items of the sample Reading Test are item analysis statistics with the correct responses indicated. The statistics for each item are provided again at the end of the test along with a raw score to scale score conversion table.

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The item analysis results shown for the items on the sample Regents' Test Reading form are from the Spring Quarter, 1984, administration of Form 23. Presented for each item is the following information: item classification, the percentage of students choosing each of the four options, the p-value, the point-biserial correlation, and the biserial correlation.

The "Item Class" column indicates the skill category classification of each item. The four classifications included on the Regent's Reading Test are Vocabulary (Voc), Literal Comprehension (Lit), Inferential Comprehension (Inf), and Analysis (Ana).

The "% choosing each option" columns indicate the percentage of students that chose each distractor and the percentage that chose the correct answer. The correct answer for each item is indicated with an asterisk.

The "P-Value" is the percentage of students getting the item correct. It is identical to the percentage choosing the option marked with an asterisk.

The point-biserial correlation (PB Corr) is the Pearson product-moment correlation between item score (correct-incorrect) and total test score. It is an index of item discrimination and indicates the extent to which those who did well on the total test tended to get the item right more often than those who did less well on the test. The maximum value of point-biserial correlations is always less than 1.0, and the maximum value for very hard or very easy items is less than the maximum value for items of middle difficulty. Thus, the values of the point-biserial correlations are dependent on item difficulty and should be interpreted in light of these difficulties.

The biserial correlation (Bis Corr), which is always higher (more precisely - "more extreme") than the point-biserial correlation, is an estimate of the Pearson product-moment correlation between the total test score and a hypothetical continuum of performance on an item. While this estimate is based on some assumptions that are not always tenable, the biserial correlation is useful in that it provides an index of discrimination that is independent of item difficulty.

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Last updated: November 8, 1996