Why Are Certain Items More Difficult than Others in a Competency Test for Music-Related Argumentation?
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionEhninger, J., Knigge, J. & Rolle, C. (2022). Why Are Certain Items More Difficult than Others in a Competency Test for Music-Related Argumentation? Frontiers in Education, 7:1013841. doi: 10.3389/feduc.2022.1013841
This paper examines why certain items in a competency test for music-related argumentation are more difficult than others. Based on previous studies on school-related achievement tests, the authors assume that differences in item difficulty are related to different item characteristics or combinations of characteristics. In this study, the item characteristics of a test for music-related argumentation were first identified and coded. Three domains were identified as contributing to item difficulty: cognitive requirements, knowledge, and formal item features. Second, multiple linear regression analyses were conducted with the item characteristics as predictors of item difficulty, which had been estimated in a prior study (Ehninger et al., 2021). A comparison of three regression models confirmed that the model holding four predictors of the domain “cognitive requirements” best fit the study data 〖R_adj〗^2= .71). The strongest predictor in the final model was “reference to musical attributes” (β=0.46,β=0.51), followed by “cross-sentence argumentation” (β=0.37) and “dialogical argumentation” (β=0.20). These results indicate that the difficulty of an item increased most when participants had to refer to musical attributes to solve the task. The items that required the participants to provide cross-sentence or dialogical argumentation were more challenging as well. The findings regarding the relations between item characteristics and item difficulty contribute to a better understanding of music-related argumentative competence, with important implications for the music classroom.Why Are Certain Items More Difficult than Others in a Competency Test for Music-Related Argumentation?