A Comparison of Difficulty Indices Calculated for Open-Ended Items According to Classical Test Theory and Many Facet Rasch Model

Mustafa ILHAN1, Nese GULER2
1Dicle University, TURKEY
2İzmir Democracy University, TURKEY.
DOI: 10.14689/ejer.2018.75.6


Purpose: This study aimed to compare difficulty indices calculated for open-ended items in accordance with the classical test theory (CTT) and the Many-Facet Rasch Model (MFRM). Although theoretical differences between CTT and MFRM occupy much space in the literature, the number of studies empirically comparing the two theories is quite limited. Therefore, this study is expected to be a substantial contribution to the literature.

Research Methods: The research data were collected through three teachers rating the answers given by 375 eighth grade students to ten open-ended questions in a mathematics test. The difficulties of the items in the test were calculated according to CTT and MFRM by using the obtained data, and the consistency between the difficulty indices estimated based on the two theories was tested. While the Microsoft Excel program was used in the analyses for CTT, the FACETS package was employed in the analyses for MFRM.

Findings: The research findings showed that CTT and MFRM yielded similar results in terms of difficulty indices of open-ended questions. It was found that, according to both theories, the ten items in the achievement test were ranked as I2, I3, I1, I4, I7, I6=I8, I5 and I9, from easiest to most difficult.

Implications for Research and Practice: It may be said that estimating item difficulties according to either CTT or MFRM will not cause any notable differences in terms of the items to be included or excluded in the development of an achievement test with openended questions.

Keywords: Open ended question, item difficulty index classical test theory, many facet rasch model.