[IPAC-List] Item and Test writing

Blair, Michael Michael.Blair2 at opm.gov
Mon Aug 31 14:17:18 EDT 2020

Overall, I would agree with Lance regarding face validity. In the examples provided, I would suggest that the first example is measuring to different concepts (basic math versus reading comprehensive and simple problem solving). In the second example, I would argue that face validity is not lost with the simpler way of phrasing the question (i.e., What tool would you use to attach two pieces of wood?). In fact, from a laborers viewpoint, the simple version may be more face valid.

Michael D. Blair
Lead Personnel Research Psychologist
United States Office of Personnel Management

P: 202-957-5427 | M: 202-957-5427
Michael.Blair2 at opm.gov<mailto:Michael.Blair2 at opm.gov> | www.opm.gov/HRS<http://www.opm.gov/HRS>

From: IPAC-List <ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org> On Behalf Of Lance Seberhagen
Sent: Sunday, August 30, 2020 3:27 PM
To: 'Dennis Doverspike' <dennisdoverspike at gmail.com>; 'IPAC-List' <IPAC-List at ipacweb.org>
Subject: Re: [IPAC-List] Item and Test writing

Face validity does not necessarily increase reading level.  One picture is worth 1,000 words.  Use short paragraphs, short sentences, short words, & plain English.  Provide a generous time limit.  That said, face validity is not always needed to make a reliable, valid, & fair test when applicants are expected to have limited reading skills.

Lance Seberhagen, Ph.D.
Seberhagen & Associates
9021 Trailridge Ct
Vienna, VA 22182
Tel 703-790-0796

From: IPAC-List <ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org<mailto:ipac-list-bounces at ipacweb.org>> On Behalf Of Dennis Doverspike
Sent: Sunday, August 30, 2020 1:29 PM
To: IPAC-List <IPAC-List at ipacweb.org<mailto:IPAC-List at ipacweb.org>>
Subject: [IPAC-List] Item and Test writing

IPAC list and others

I am interested on people's opinion on this, and if you know of research on this all the better,

For jobs where the applicants are expected to have limited reading ability skills.

Would you be more likely to write items, go with items, or prefer items that

1) reduce the amount of face valid content and context and thus reading level

2) increase the amount of face valid content and context and thus increase reading level (and also follow strict item writing rules)

For example for a test for a general laborer

1) Low content and low reading level

2 + 2 =

2) High content and high reading level for a test for general laborer

A laborer has a piece of wood that is  two inches long and needs to attach it to another piece of wood that is two inches long. How long will the board be once the pieces of wood are attached?

another one

1) What tool would you use to attach two pieces of wood?

2) A coworker is struggling to get two pieces of wood to stick together. The coworker asks a laborer how the coworker should attach the two pieces of wood. The laborer should indicate that the best tool to use to attach two pieces of wood would be:


Dennis Doverspike, PhD., ABPP
dennisdoverspike at gmail.com<mailto:dennisdoverspike at gmail.com>
Principled Progress Through People Science

Doverspike Consulting LLC:
HR Litehouse (DBA)
Chief People Scientist
PO Box 1788
Stow, OH 44224-0788
Email: dennisdoverspike at gmail.com<mailto:dennisdoverspike at gmail.com>

Dennis Doverspike
3171 N. Dover Road
Silver Lake, Ohio 44224
dennisdoverspike at gmail.com<mailto:dennis_doverspike at yahoo.com>

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