Empirical analysis of item difficulty and discrimination indices of senior school certificate multiple choice biology tests in Nigeria

Empirical analysis of item difficulty and discrimination indices of senior school certificate multiple choice biology tests in Nigeria

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Empirical analysis of item difficulty and discrimination indices of senior school certificate multiple choice biology tests in Nigeria

This study aimed at obtaining empirical data on the item difficulty and discrimination indices ofsenior school certificate examination (SSCE) multiple choice biology tests used by the West AfricanExaminations Council (WAEC) and National Examinations Council (NECO) in Nigeria. Sample forthe study consisted of 1450 Senior Secondary Three (SSIII) students, made up of 758 male and 692female, drawn from 20 randomly selected secondary schools in Ekiti State, Nigeria. The instrumentsused for the study were 2008 NECO and WAEC multiple choice Biology test papers. Data analysiswas done by the researcher using item by item analysis for obtaining the difficulty anddiscrimination indices. Findings from the study showed that 2008 SSCE Biology multiple choice testhad mean difficulty index of 0.42 and this is slightly higher than NECO Biology multiple choice testwith mean difficulty index of 0.40 and 2008 SSCE in Biology had a discriminating power of 0.43and this is higher than NECO with mean discriminating power of 0.39. It was thereforerecommended that, 4 option items especially in multiple choice Biology tests should be encouragedbut if 5 options items should be used more attention should be given to psychometric properties oftests. Also, Governments should periodically organize in-service training programme for teacherson regular basis to broaden their knowledge in test construction, test administration andinterpretation in order to improve students', performance in Biology in external and internalexaminations.Key words: Difficulty Indices, Discrimination Indices, Multiple Choice Biology Tests.

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