What Is Constructing Test Items?

  • Steven J. Osterlind
Part of the Evaluation in Education and Human Services book series (EEHS, volume 25)


Constructing test items for standardized tests of achievement, ability, and aptitude is a task of enormous importance—and one fraught with difficulty. The task is important because test items are the foundation of written tests of mental attributes, and the ideas they express must be articulated precisely and succinctly. Being able to draw valid and reliable inferences from a test’s scores rests in great measure upon attention to the construction of test items. If a test’s scores are to yield valid inferences about an examinee’s mental attributes, its items must reflect a specific psychological construct or domain of content. Without a strong association between a test item and a psychological construct or domain of content, the test item lacks meaning and purpose, like a mere free-floating thought on a page with no rhyme or reason for being there at all.


Test Item Reference Source Test Developer Item Format Good Writing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven J. Osterlind
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MissouriColumbiaUSA

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