An analysis of item characteristics curve for primary school students in Hong Kong

Sok Ching CHAN, Ching Heung LAU, Magdalena Mo Ching MOK

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Hong Kong Teachers understand students' abilities and ranked students' position by the scores of quizzes, tests and examination. Setting items for assessing students is therefore one of significant tasks for Hong Kong teachers. Teachers usually set items to access their students based on what they taught in the classroom. Teachers do not usually consider whether the items are set appropriately to measure their students' abilities. On the other hand, it is important for the teachers learn the quality control of item settings. Rasch measurement is a quality control mechanism and good for diagnosis. The area of diagnosis includes item misfit between items and persons, and probability of a person's correctly answering the item against his ability. The diagnostic information obtained can be used by teachers to enhance their assessment tools such that teachers are better informed about their students' learning. Nonetheless, such diagnoses are under-utilised. The aim of this study is to illustrate how the diagnostic information can be generated from Rasch measurement using the Winsteps software, and how teachers can make use of such information to enhance assessment tools. In particular, this study focused on how to use one of the Item Characteristic Curve as a diagnostic tool in order to analyze the relationship between students' abilities and item difficulties. Based on this analysis, teachers can discern the quality of items in the assessment and hence obtain more accurate estimates of students' abilities and item difficulties. The sample for the study involved about 150 Primary Three students from a local school. Students' basic competencies in mathematics at end of Key-Stage-l were gauged in June 2006 using an assessment tool designed by the authors. Rasch measurements of the students were obtained using the Winsteps software. Item Characteristic Curves of the items were analysed to diagnose the psychometric qualities of the assessment tool. Implications for teachers in setting assessment were discussed in the paper.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2006


Chan, S.-C. M., Lau, C.-H. D., & Mok, M. C. M. (2006, November). An analysis of item characteristics curve for primary school students in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the Asia-Pacific Educational Research Association (APERA) International Conference 2006: Educational Research, Policy and Practice in an Era of Globalization, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.


  • Primary Education
  • Educational Evaluation


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