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A self-reference problem in test score normalization

Economics of Education Review Volume 61, Number 1, ISSN 0272-7757 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


It is considered standard practice to transform IRT-scaled test scores into standard normal variables for regression analysis in order to enable comparison with other research whose test scores are similarly transformed. This paper calls this practice into question. I show that these transformations can potentially result in radically different estimates of regression parameters due to differences in sample composition. Regression coefficient comparisons between different samples that use z-standardized test scores is only possible if the samples are considered to be random draws from the same population. I outline several different methods to deal with this problem and the caveats attached to each.


Penney, J. (2017). A self-reference problem in test score normalization. Economics of Education Review, 61(1), 79-84. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved August 25, 2019 from .

This record was imported from Economics of Education Review on March 1, 2019. Economics of Education Review is a publication of Elsevier.

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