Validation of data using RASCH analysis in a tool measuring changes in critical thinking in nursing students

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Nurse Education Today


Churchill Livingstone


School of Nursing and Midwifery




Jacob, E. R., Duffield, C., & Jacob, A. M. (2019). Validation of data using RASCH analysis in a tool measuring changes in critical thinking in nursing students. Nurse Education Today, 76, 196-199. Available here


Background: In Australia there is no national examination to assess student competency with respect to critical thinking skills on graduation from undergraduate registered nurse program. Objectives: To describe the use of Rasch analysis for the validation of a tool that measures critical thinking in nursing students in Australia. Design: A cross sectional survey was used to assess students’ critical thinking. Settings: One Australian university. Participants: Seventy-four first year and third year nursing students participated in the project. Methods: Nursing students at one university were requested to undertake a multiple choice question survey to determine their level of critical thinking. The survey tool was validated using Rasch analysis software. Results: Rasch analysis enabled identification of the difficulty of each question, enabling the assessment to identify difference between students and for each student cohort. The use of Rasch analysis demonstrated marked differences in the students’ critical thinking abilities, showing higher levels of critical thinking for third year students with greater ability to answer the more difficult questions. Conclusion: Rasch analysis enables the matching of test questions to the cognitive skill level of students, and is a useful tool for validating multiple choice questionnaires. Use of this method of analysis can provide a robust assessment in which questions are matched to the level of the learner and enable differentiation between high and low achieving students. © 2019 Elsevier Ltd



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