Publications & Resources

Test Theory Reconceived

May 1994

Robert J. Mislevy

Competing psychological models of knowledge and knowledge acquisition have begun to influence research and development in the design of alternative assessments. In the struggle to create more cognitive models of assessment, CRESST author Robert Mislevy argues that researchers need to “disentangle the statistics from the psychology of standard test theory” and distinguish “how we are reasoning from what we are reasoning about.” In Test Theory Reconceived, Mislevy addresses such critical assessment issues as what kinds of evidence are needed to support inferences about students and when must educational researchers ask different questions or pose additional situations to distinguish among competing explanations of what is seen? The author provides a discussion of educational testing within alternative psychological paradigms, then explores the implications of cognitive psychology for test theory. Numerous examples of current projects are used to illustrate portions of his discussion.

Mislevy, R. J. (1994). Test theory reconceived (CSE Report 376). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).