The Impact of Item Formats on Singaporean Students’ Performance in the Trends of International Mathematics and Science Study

The Impact of Item Formats on Singaporean Students’ Performance in the Trends of International Mathematics and Science Study

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The Impact of Item Formats on Singaporean Students’ Performance in the Trends of International Mathematics and Science Study

In many of the large-scale international assessments (e.g., TIMSS, PISA), both multiple-choice and constructed-response item formats are used to assess student achievement. In terms of measuring learning outcomes, it is widely accepted that multiple-choice items are limited to measuring factual knowledge and simple recall skills. On the contrary, constructed-response items are known as more effective tools for assessing deep understanding of content knowledge and higher-order thinking skills. However, some researchers have shown that multiple-choice and constructed-response items measured the same basic trait or proficiency. Based on the released TIMSS 2003 reports, Singaporean students were among the top performers in both mathematics and science at the 4th and 8th grade levels. But yet little is known about the effects of item formats on the Singaporean students’, performance. Are the multiple-choice and constructed-response items measuring the same cognitive and knowledge domains? This study will report the results of the construct comparability of the multiple-choice and constructed-response items in the TIMSS 2003 mathematics achievement test, Singaporean Grade 8 population. The impact of the item formats on student performance will be discussed. 1

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