10
The Use of Computerized Adaptive Testing in the Military

Kathleen E. Moreno, Daniel O. Segall, and Rebecca D. Hetter

The United States Armed Services use the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) to assess military applicants. This battery consists of 10 subtests and is typically administered by conventional, paper-and-pencil (P&P) methods. It is administered to approximately 600,000 applicants annually by the United States Military Entrance Processing Command as part of their production testing program.

Currently, there is a major effort under way to implement a Computerized Adaptive Testing version of the ASVAB (CAT-ASVAB). CAT-ASVAB uses item response theory to tailor a test to the ability level of an individual examinee. Items are selected from large, precalibrated item pools, matching the difficulty of the next test item to the current ability level of the examinee. After each item response, the examinee's ability estimate is updated. Adaptive testing makes it possible to administer short tests that provide precise measurement across all ability levels. Computer administration makes it possible to use this procedure, plus provides such benefits as standardization of test administration procedures, item security, and increased accuracy of scoring and recording of data.

The CAT-ASVAB research effort can be broken down into two phases. The purpose of the first phase was to develop, evaluate, and implement a CAT system in a small number of operational sites. Lessons learned from this first phase are being used in the second phase of the project: development and implementation of CAT-ASVAB on a nationwide scale.

The first phase of the project has been completed. Item pools and test administration procedures were developed and evaluated, hardware was selected and procured, software development was completed, and the CAT-ASVAB sys-

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