Publications & Resources

Diagnosing Students’ Errors from Their Response Selections in Language Arts

Dec 1985

Noreen M. Webb, Joan L. Herman, and Beverly Cabello

This set of studies examined the consistency of student response patterns on a test of language arts, as a first step toward designing a computerized adaptive test to diagnose errors. A diagnostic domain-referenced language arts test was designed so that the choice of reponse would immediately point to a specific misconception in pronoun usage. This direct correspondence between error and diagnosis was designed to facilitate classroom instruction and remediation. Analysis of students’ response choices on matched items and analysis of students’ rationales for selecting their responses, however, showed that student behavior was not consistent and could not be used to diagnose specific errors. These findings raised questions about the possibility of using students’ reponse patterns to identify the source of their errors.

Webb, N. M., Herman, J. L., & Cabello, B. (1985). Diagnosing students’ errors from their response selections in language arts (CSE Report 241). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, Center for the Study of Evaluation.