Designing Assessment to Support Learning: A New Approach to Test Construction and Analysis
Jimmy de la Torre

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Primary Discipline

mathematics education
Assessments can be used not only to ascertain status of learning but also to further learning. However, current focus on accountability has overemphasized the use of assessments that lack diagnostic values. In contrast, assessments based on cognitive diagnosis models yield inferences that are richer and can facilitate learning. This proposal seeks to extend the applications of cognitive diagnosis modeling by introducing a general cognitively-based approach to test construction and analysis. Although the proposal focuses on multiple-choice assessments, minor modifications will allow application of the method to constructed response data. The first component of the approach prescribes how distractors in multiple-choice items, which can contain more information than the correct options, should be constructed. The second component describes how responses to these items should be analyzed using a proposed cognitive diagnosis model for multiple-choice data. Prior to investigation of its practical implications, several methodological questions about the proposed approach need to be answered. In addition to simulation studies, the project also seeks to develop and analyze a fourth grade cognitively-based multiple-choice assessment to gain a better understanding of the approach. The findings will be the basis for future practical applications such as studying how cognitively-based assessments can affect teaching practices and classroom learning.
About Jimmy de la Torre

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