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A Review and Empirical Comparison of Approaches for Improving the Reliability of Objective Level Scores

Author(s)William P. Skorupski
Publication dateJune 2008
publication pdfA Review and Empirical Comparison of Approaches for Improving the Reliability of Objective Level Scores

This paper reports on an evaluation of the psychometric issues associated with estimating objective level scores, often referred to as 'subscores.' Methods for increasing the reliability of subscore estimates that have been suggested in literature are reviewed. Based on this review, an empirical study comparing some of the more promising procedures was conducted using data from four different statewide testing programs, representing three different subject areas and various testing conditions. The comparison of subscore augmentation approaches found that generally all methods were very successful in dramatically increasing the reliability of subscore estimates. However, this increase was accompanied by near-perfect correlations among the subscore estimates. This finding called into question the validity of the resultant subscores, and therefore the usefulness of subscore augmentation process. Implications for practice are discussed.