The objective of this study was to develop and validate an instrument measuring the perception and interpretation of several distinct musical features (pitch, tonality, timing, loudness, and timbre). Therefore, we developed the Implicit Tonal Ability Test (ITAT), a listening test containing 49 multiple-choice items. A total of 233 children aged 6 to 12 participated in this study. Rasch model-based analysis of dimensionality and differential item functioning was chosen as the principal analysis strategy. Results revealed that the ITAT discriminated between high and low performers. Responses to distinct musical features behaved as one Rasch dimension in the test and reliability measures were sufficient for persons and items. The ITAT was variable across age and gender, with a positive relation between age and ITAT-score. The ITAT can be reliably used in elementary education to measure children’s musical ability for perception and interpretation of distinct musical features in just one test.
- differential item functioning
- educational measurement
- test validity
- tonal abilities