Analysis of Russian and Spanish Subskill testing at the Defense Language Institute
Lavinder, Carlton L.
Whitaker, Lyn R.
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The Defense Language institute is responsible for training military and government service personnel requiring a foreign language skill. Ten Subskill tests have been developed to evaluate the graduating students' language abilities and to determine if they have met the sponsor's Final Learning Objectives. The Subskill tests in some languages have been in place long enough that they can now be studied. This thesis examines these Subskill tests for both Russian and Spanish to determine if the tests have been developed and implemented in a manner to efficiently and consistently discriminate between students of different abilities. Three different issues are treated. The ANOVA is used identify Subskill tests with significant rater effects and the magnitude of those effects when they are present. Item Response Theory is used to examine the Subskill tests at the question level in order to identify questions that poorly discriminate between students of different abilities. In addition, the ability range that students are tested over is examined. Finally, methods using principle components and multiple regression are used to determine which tests, if any, can be eliminated with an acceptable loss of information about the students.
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