Computerized Adaptive Testing: A Primer

Computerized Adaptive Testing: A Primer

Computerized Adaptive Testing: A Primer

Computerized Adaptive Testing: A Primer


This celebrated primer presents an introduction to all of the key ingredients in understanding computerized adaptive testing technology, test development, statistics, and mental test theory. Based on years of research, this accessible book educates the novice and serves as a compendium of state-of-the-art information for professionals interested in computerized testing in the areas of education, psychology, and other related social sciences. A hypothetical test taken as a prelude to employment is used as a common example throughout to highlight this book's most important features and problems. Changes in the new edition include: *a completely rewritten chapter 2 on the system considerations needed for modern computerized adaptive testing; *a revised chapter 4 to include the latest in methodology surrounding online calibration and in the modeling of testlets; and *a new chapter 10 with helpful information on how test items are really selected, usage patterns, how usage patterns influence the number of new items required, and tools for managing item pools.


C. Victor Bunderson

Vice President, Research Management Educational Testing Service

Publication of this book signals the rite of passage of Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT) from childhood into young adulthood. CAT is now a viable alternative form of measurement, backed by a rigorous technology involving far more than hardware and software.

The childhood of CAT was characterized by the publication of speculative articles about the future benefits of computerized testing, and this will no doubt continue. These articles wax enthusiastic about a technological future extrapolated from a scattered mosaic of technical articles and reports, not widely accessible, on different aspects of CAT. The mosaic of technical articles dealt with central issues concerning item response theory and its implementation on computers for adaptive testing.

This CAT primer puts the mosaic together. Although the book is technical when it must be, it is well written and interesting. A hypothetical test taken as a prelude to employment, the Gedanken Computerized Adaptive Test (GCAT) his used to tie the book together with a common example. It also highlights important features and problems presented by different types of computerized subtests. One GCAT subtest uses long paragraphs that might not fit on the computer screen, another involves computer presentation of graphics for measuring memory, and one deals with clerical response speed.

The lay reader will enjoy following the adventures of the bright and eager Cindy and her amiable friend, Scott--two young people who took the GCAT. Intrigued by her experience with the test, Cindy leads Scott (whose level of interest is delightfully higher than would be predicted by his GCAT score) and the reader from chapter to chapter to satisfy her seemingly insatiable interest in CAT arcana like equating and reliability.

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