Sequential Testing for Selection
Weitzman, R. A.
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In sequential testing for selection, an applicant for school or work responds via a computer terminal to one item at a time until an acceptance or rejection decision can be made with a present probability of error. The test statistic, as a function of item difficulties for standardization subgroups scoring within successive quantities of the criterion, is an approximation of a Waldian probability ratio that should improve as the number of quantities increases. Monte carlo simulation of 1,000 first-year college students under 96 different testing conditions indicated that a quantile number as low as foud could yield observed error rates that are close to their nominal values with mean test lengths between 5 and 47. Application to real data, for which interpolative estimation of the quantile item difficulties was necessary, produced, with quantile numbers of four and five, even more accurate observed error rates than the monte carlo studies did. Truncation at 70 items narrowed the range of mean test lengths for the real data to between 5 and 19, Important for use in selection, the critical values of the test statistics are functions not only of the nominal error rates but also, alternatively, of the selection ratio, the base-rate success probability, and the success probability among selectees, which a test user is free to choose.
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