What is the shelf life of a test? The effect of time on the psychometrics of a cognitive ability test battery

Kim Yin Chan, Fritz Drasgow, Linda L. Sawin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The psychometric stability of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery was studied with data collected at 5 points over a 16-year period using item response theory (IRT) methods. Although 25 of the 200 items changed significantly over the years across 3 different gender-ethnic groups (i.e., White men, White women, and Black men), the overall characteristics of the tests were not severely affected by item-level changes. Items from tests that were more semantically laden were found to be more susceptible to the effects of time compared with those that focused on skills and principles. The findings are discussed in the context of the effects of time on the effectiveness of psychological measures. A call is made to test developers and test users to pay attention to the shelf life of their tests. The use of IRT methods for studying the effects of time on psychometrics is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)610-619
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Volume84
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

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