[[abstract]]The study analyzed the reasons for difficult items which were repeated in both field test and main survey of Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study in 2003 for grade fourth. There were 1601 and 4661 students involved in field test and main survey respectively. Twenty-four students who had the tests and one experienced elementary school teacher were interviewed. The concepts of 44 items which passing rate were lower than 50% and the involvement of these concepts in the national standardized curriculum were analyzed first. The second step analyzed the reasons for low passing rate for these items from curriculum, format of test items, understanding of items and misconceptions. The performance of different gender in different format of items was investigated also. The findings were as follow: 1. 79.5% of items’ concepts did not cover in curriculum; 2. students could not answered correctly of constructed-response items which was 68.2% of low passing items and misunderstanding of 11.4% of items due to their weak reading and writing ability in language; 3. concepts of 61.4% of low passing items were consisted with the misconceptions in literature; 4. male and female students performed no difference in different format of items. To reinforce the students reading and writing in language and to investigate the coverage of concepts of test items internationally were recommended. To investigate 11 items which had 20% difference between field test and main survey and reexamine the meaning writing of items which students did not understand were suggested also.
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