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LEI: Did I Write a Clunker Test Question? - Using test item analysis to improve grading and test questions

In this in-depth course, you will learn how to interpret standard examination and test item statistics to improve grading fairness. Then you will learn how the use of item analysis can also help in revision of poor test items to improve them.


By the completion of this course, participants should be able to:
  • Define item difficulty, item discrimination and test reliability.
  • State acceptable and ideal values for item difficulty, item discrimination and test reliability.
  • Given indices of discrimination and difficulty for test items, interpret the values to recognize those that are difficult/easy and those that are good/poor discriminators
  • Given data on difficulty and discrimination, test mean and reliability, decide whether a question is a candidate for score adjustment or revision.
  • Explain the relationship between test reliability and item number, tested group ability, item quality, and scope of content coverage.
  • Implement strategies that can improve the reliability of a test.
  • Given data on the options selected by students on an item, identify options for rewrite, deletion or replacement.
  • Orient to unfamiliar presentation of examination and item statistics (as with the implementation of a new learning management system) to identify and recognize typical statistics for decision making.
  • With practice, and using the suggestions from this session, revise poorly performing items to improve the statistical performance.
  • Given a set of exam papers, develop and interpret a manual item analysis to assess the difficulty and discrimination of the test items and make rescoring/rewrite decisions. 
  • Use the process used by professional testing services to make scoring adjustments.


This self-study is P.A.C.E. ® accredited. The instruction level for this activity is Intermediate. Three (3) P.A.C.E. ® contact hours and three (3) Florida credit hours in the area General (Education) will be awarded to participants. ASCLS P.A.C.E.® is accepted by the ASCP/ASCLS/AGT Board of Certification and all states, including Florida and California, as an approved provider of continuing education for recertification and licensure. ASCLS is an approved provider with CE Broker for Florida licensees.


Biomedical Laboratory Diagnostics Program
Michigan State University
Professor Emeritus
E. Lansing, MI


This intermediate-level program is appropriate for laboratory professionals working in clinical, public health and academic settings.