Evaluating equating error in observed-score equating

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Traditionally, error in equating observed scores on two versions of a test is defined as the difference between the transformations that equate the quantiles of their distributions in the sample and in the population of examinees. This definition underlies, for example, the well-known approximation to the standard error of equating by Lord (1982). But it is argued that if the goal of equating is to adjust the scores of examinees on one version of the test to make them indistinguishable from those on another, equating error should be defined as the degree to which the equated scores realize this goal. Two equivalent definitions of equating error based on this criterion are formulated. It is shown how these definitions allow us to estimate the b ias and mean-squared error of any equating method if the response data fit an item-response theory model. An evaluation of the traditional equipercentile equating method and two new conditional methods for tests from a previous item pool of the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) shows that, under a variety of conditions, the equipercentile method tends to result in a serious bias and error, whereas the new methods are practically free of any error, except when the test to be equated has poorly discriminating items.
Original languageUndefined
Place of PublicationNewton, PA, USA
PublisherLaw School Admission Council
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006

Publication series

NameLSAC research report series
PublisherLaw School Admission Council


  • IR-104262

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