Oliver Zierke

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In the selection of aviation personnel, special test preparation has become an emerging problem. Specific test preparation aims at raising the probability to master a certain test rather than developing the underlying ability. Knowledge tests are particularly susceptible to the problem of test preparation. One strategy to counter this problem is the use of comprehensive item banks for testing in knowledge domains. In 2005 over 770 student pilot applicants participated in an evaluation study of two item bank tests, an English language test and a test of physical knowledge. A conventional test form as well as an item bank test form were given to each subject. Consequently, both test forms were compared in a repeated measures design. The test preparation effects, correlations with school grades, and prognostic validity of both tests were analyzed. It is shown that item bank testing reduces test preparation effects and enhances construct validity.