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Neo-Classical Test Theory: A Modernization

Classical test theory has been ascribed the status of weak theory. Early development reflected a native realism, with variables being operationally defined. Subsequent developments in mathematics, statistics, and structural modeling, however, have rendered classical test theory problematic. Yet the basic framework is sound. Decomposition of an observed score into the sum of a true and an error component is inherently meaningful. What is required is a modernization that addresses past exclusions and deficiencies while retaining the classical framework. Consequently, a neo-classical test theory formalized as fourteen tenets is presented. Each tenet is accompanied by an elaborative discussion. Benefits accruing from and costs associated with theory modernization are discussed. Educational and developmental implications for three user types are identified.


Donald W Drewes

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