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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 3.129

Anthropology and Psychometrics: How to Get the Most from Your Tests


  • Prof. Martin KANOVSKY

Primary authors


Multiple choice tests are not preferable method of knowledge evaluation in anthropology teaching, and this is as it should be. However, sometimes there is no other option, especially in teaching of introductory courses with very large number of enrolled students. This paper will present some of well-established psychometric methods how to evaluate anthropological (multiple choice) tests from Kottak’s textbook Cultural Anthropology. Based on item-response theory and multilevel models, this paper will present the practical guide how to assess difficult and easy items, how to identify difficult anthropological topics which would require additional effort in teaching, and in general, it will provide teachers of introductory anthropological courses who use tests with very useful objective and justified feedback. Specific examples with real data will be discussed and practical demonstrations provided, based on the course Introduction to Anthropology, taught at the Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia. All analyses will be conducted in free statistical program R. Strengths and weaknesses of this approach will be discussed and some perspectives for the future research will be proposed.