The purpose of this investigation was to examine the extent to which item and text characteristics predict item difficulty on the comprehension portion of the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Tests for the 7th-9th and 10th-12th grade levels. Detailed item-based analyses were performed on 192 comprehension questions on the basis of the cognitive processing model framework proposed by Embretson and colleagues (Embretson & Wetzel, 1987). Item difficulty was analyzed in terms of various passage features (e.g., word frequency and number of propositions) and individual-question characteristics (e.g., abstractness and degree of inferential processing), using hierarchical linear modeling. The results indicated that the difficulty of the items in the test for the 7th-9th grade level is primarily influenced by text features-in particular, vocabulary difficulty-whereas the difficulty of the items in the test for the 10th-12th grade level is less systematically influenced by text features.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Psychology (miscellaneous)