Second Language Acquisition - Theory and Pedagogy: Proceedings of the 6th Annual JALT Pan-SIG Conference.
May. 12 - 13, 2007. Sendai, Japan: Tohoku Bunka Gakuen University. (pp. 84 - 96)

Rasch-based evaluation of the presence of item bias in a placement examination designed for an EFL reading program

Appendix A: Alfred Nobel passage

Alfred Nobel was born in Stockholm, Sweden on October 21, 1833. Nobel was fluent in several languages, and wrote poetry and drama. Nobel was also very interested in social and peace-related issues, and held views that were considered radical during his time. Efforts to promote peace were close to his heart, largely inspired by his close contact with Bertha von Suttner (herself a Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1905). He derived intellectual pleasure from literature, while science built the foundation for his own activities as a technological researcher and inventor. His father wanted his sons to follow in his footsteps and was not pleased with Alfred's interest in poetry. He decided to send Alfred abroad to study and become a chemical engineer. . . . Nobel received his first patent at age 30. Ten years later, he would establish factories in several countries and was the first person in the world to create an international holding company. In 1868, Alfred Nobel and his father were awarded the Letterstedt Prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. This prize, which Alfred valued highly, was awarded for "important discoveries of practical value to humanity."
On December 10, 1896, Alfred Nobel passed away at his home in San Remo, Italy. When his will was opened it came as a surprise that his fortune was to be used for Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace. Nobel declared that his estate should be used to endow "prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind." In 1901, the first Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine and Literature were first awarded in Stockholm, Sweden and the Peace Prize in Kristiania (now Oslo), Norway. The commemorative medal that has been struck for this occasion is intended to remind us of some of Alfred Nobel's various activities. The back of the medal shows a tunnel blasted by dynamite and a detonator or blasting cap. On the front of the medal is a portrait of Nobel, with the Latin inscription Creavit et promovit, which can be translated "He created and promoted." This sums up, in the briefest possible way, the remarkable accomplishments of Alfred Nobel.

Reading comprehension items for the Nobel passage

Literal items:
  1. Alfred Nobel shared many of the same ideas people had during his lifetime.
  2. A personal friend of Alfred Nobel has won a Nobel Prize.
  3. Nobel made his living as a poet.
  4. Alfred Nobel had one brother.
  5. Alfred Nobel treasured the fact that other Swedish scientists recognized the value of his research.
  6. Alfred Nobel was a very wealthy man at the time of his death.
  7. Nobel Prizes are awarded in six different categories.
Reorganization items:
  1. Bertha von Sutter won the first Nobel Peace Prize.
  2. Alfred Nobel's father was a chemical engineer.
  3. By 1873 Alfred Nobel was an international business man.
  4. Alfred Nobel had lived his whole life in Sweden.
  5. Nobel died in his sixties.
  6. Five years after Alfred Nobel's death the first prize was given in his name.
  7. All of the Nobel Prizes were first awarded in the city of Alfred Nobel's birth.
Inference items:
  1. The Letterstedt Prize influenced Alfred Nobel's criteria for awarding Nobel Prizes.
  2. Alfred Nobel told his family about his idea of starting the Nobel Prize.
  3. Alfred Nobel was concerned with improving people's quality of life.
  4. Nobel Prizes are given once a year.
  5. Alfred Nobel's area of research was explosives to make tunnels.
  6. Details about Alfred Nobel's life are well known by people today.
  7. The author of this article highly respects Alfred Nobel.

Main Article Appendix A Appendix B Appendix C

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