New perspectives in the analysis of abilities

Annotated by Ben Wilbrink

Work by John Bissell (Jack) Carroll

John Bissell Carroll (Jack) was born in 1916 and died in 2003. David Lubinski (2004) has published an obituary in the American Psychologist, , 59, 43-44. pdf.


John B. Carroll (1990). Estimating item and ability parameters in homogeneous tests with the person characteristic function. Applied Psychological Measurement, 14, 109-125.


John B. Carroll (1987). New perspectives in the analysis of abilities. In Royce R. Ronning, Jane C. Conoley, John A. Glover, and Joseph C. Witt (Eds.) (1987). The influence of cognitive psychology on testing. Buros-Nebraska Symposium on Measurement and Testing. Volume 3 (pp. 267-84).

There is no online version of this chapter available. It is, searching on its title in Google (october 2006) only once referred to, in an article in Spanish on abilities etcetera.

p. 267: "Here, I use the term 'ability' in a very general sense, so that it covers both the concept of aptitude and the concept of achievement." ".... we are concerned in either case with deriving the definition of an ability from the observations of peformance."

This lumping together of aptitude and achievement is tricky. It will however allow the use of examples from aptitude measurement to illuminate some issues in the 'measurement' of achievement. At least, that is what I hope to get from this chapter.

used in spa_generator.htm:
Makes one think. John is looking for an opening for the development of a technology of designing the difficulty of test items. I think he found a good one. This does not touch directly on the spa-model, though. If all items in the item set were to be upgraded in difficulty, the mastery as defined on the upgraded set simply would be somewhat lower. The point of the spa-model is that it models the world as perceived by the student, not the world of the designer of test items. See my work on test item design on this website here, in chapter one of the Dutch text I will go into the possibilities opened up by this article by John Carroll.

December 29, 2006 \ contact ben apenstaartje

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