COINS - Construction of Instructionally Sensitive Test Items

The goal of the COINS project is to identify key features of instructionally sensitive test items that can be considered in the development of standardised achievement tests.

Project Description

Tests, or test items, are called instructionally sensitive if they are able to reflect the effects of instruction on student performance. If tests do not sufficiently meet this conditions, instruction can be time-consuming and of high quality without being equally reflected in students' test performance. To date, there is little knowledge on how to purposefully develop instructionally sensitive test items for an achievement test. In particular, there is a lack of knowledge about which features of a test item are crucial for its instructional sensitivity. The goal of the COINS project is to identify central features of instruction-sensitive test items that can be taken into account in the development of standardised achievement tests.

Project Objectives

The COINS project builds on the findings of the DFG project "Instructional Sensitivity of Test Items in Educational Psychological Diagnostics (InSe)". While the InSe project focused on measuring the instructional sensitivity of existing test procedures, the COINS project is concerned with the construction of instructionally sensitive test items.

The project aims to (1) identify item characteristics that influence instructional sensitivity, and (2) examine associations of instructional sensitivity (at the test and item levels) and characteristics of instructional quality. In the context of the project, a mathematics test for lower secondary schools will be developed and tested with respect to instructional sensitivity on the basis of an empirical sample. It is planned to present the tests to students in Hesse and in the canton of St. Gallen (Switzerland). The results of instructional sensitivity will then be related to characteristics of instructional quality.


The collaborative project "Construction of Instruction-Sensitive Test Items" of the DIPF | Leibniz Institut for Research and Information in Education with the University of Teacher Education St. Gallen (PHSG) is funded by:

  • Logo DFG

  • Logo Swiss National Science Foundation


The project is being carried out in cooperation with...


Project Management

Project Team

Project Details

Current project
Department: Teacher and Teaching Quality
Unit: Educational Measurement
Education Sector: Primary and Secondary Education
External funding
Contact: Dr. Marit Kristine List, Post-doc Researcher