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Quick Start Guide to Using Item Analysis to Improve Exam Scoring

Even good test question writers will write a poor question - a clunker - once in a while. Students should not be penalized with lower exam scores when this happens. In this quick start module you will learn the basics of item analysis interpretation so you can identify clunkers. You will then learn how to appropriately rescore the examination to compensate for clunkers. The result is fairer for students and a better representation of what they know. For a deeper understanding of item analysis, check out the more advanced module on this topic, "Did I Write A Clunker Question?"


By the completion of this course, participants should be able to:
  • Define item difficulty, item discrimination, test mean, and test reliability.
  • State acceptable and ideal values for item difficulty, item discrimination, test mean, 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, and course passing score, decide whether a question is a candidate for score adjustment.
  • 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. One and one-half (1.5) P.A.C.E. ® contact hours and one and one-half 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.