Policy considerations based on a cost analysis of alternative test formats in large scale science assessments

Frances Lawrenz, Douglas Huffman, Wayne Welch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article compares the costs of four assessment formats: multiple choice, open ended, laboratory station, and full investigation. The amount of time spent preparing the devices, developing scoring consistency for the devices, and scoring the devices was tracked as the devices were developed. These times are presented by individual item and by complete device. Times are also compared as if 1,000 students completed each assessment. Finally, the times are converted into cost estimates by assuming a potential hourly wage. The data show that a multiple choice item costs the least, and that it is approximately 80 times as much for an open ended item, 300 times as much for a content station, and 500 times as much for a full investigation item. The very large discrepancies in costs are used as a basis to raise several policy issues related to the inclusion of alternative assessment formats in large scale science achievement testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)615-626
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Research in Science Teaching
Volume37
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2000

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