Comparative Racial Analysis of Enlisted Advancement Exams: Item- Difficulty.
Final rept. May 1974-Jul 1975
NAVY PERSONNEL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER SAN DIEGO CA
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An item-analysis of 24 Navy Enlisted Advancement Exams was conducted to determine which test characteristics might account for the higher promotion rate of White than Black racial groups. Specific questions addressed included 1 whether it is feasible to construct exams containing only items which are similar in difficulty for both Blacks and Whites, 2 what types of items are similar in difficulty, and 3 whether the same items are relatively easy or difficult for Blacks and Whites. The proportion of items identified as similar in difficulty for both Blacks and Whites varied from about one-half to six- sevenths of the 150 items in each test. The similar-type items were concentrated in the difficult range, and presented applied as distinguished from conceptual content. Relative item-difficulty was low on some exams. The development of advancement exams of items similar in difficulty for Blacks and Whites could not be recommended, because the concentration of similar-difficulty items in the difficult range would degrade test quality, and items largely limited to factual content might not cover all necessary content for a particular occupational specialty.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations