The quality of mathematics multiple choice items and their susceptibility to test wiseness were examined. Test wiseness was defined as "a subject's capacity to utilize the characteristics and formats of the test and/or test taking situation to receive a high score." The study used results of the Graduate Record Examinations Aptitude Test (GRE) and Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Principles of test wiseness, specifically for mathematics items, were developed and applied. A large proportion of the items studied were susceptible to test wiseness at a significantly higher level than expected by chance. The study investigated the possibility that students could be trained to detect flaws in test items and profit from them. The four and five option items were examined with respect to their susceptibility to test wiseness and their corresponding psychometric properties. Two methods of reducing test wiseness were training all potential examinees in test wiseness or elimination of susceptible items. The reduction of options from five to four would seem to reduce the susceptibility of items to test wiseness without affecting the psychometric properties. (DWH)
Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (66th, New York, NY, March 19-23, 1982).