• Mark D. Reckase
Part of the Statistics for Social and Behavioral Sciences book series (SSBS)


Test items are complicated things. Even though it is likely that readers of this book will know what test items are from their own experience, it is useful to provide a formal definition.

“A test item in an examination of mental attributes is a unit of measurement with a stimulus and a prescriptive form for answering; and, it is intended to yield a response from an examinee from which performance in some psychological construct (such as ability, predisposition, or trait) may be inferred.”

Osterlind 1990, p. 3

The definition of a test item itself is complex, but it does contain a number of clear parts – stimulus material and a form for answering. Usually, the stimulus material asks a specific question and the form for answering yields a response. For most tests of achievement, aptitude, or other cognitive characteristics, the test item has a correct answer and the response is scored to give an item score.


Correct Response Correct Answer Test Item Item Response Item Response Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Counseling, Educational, Psychology, and Special Education DepartmentMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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