Chapter Five

COMPUTERIZED ADAPTIVE TESTING

Rodney A. McCloy and Robert E. Gibby

Dating from the 1960s, computerized adaptive tests, or CATs, have been developed to meet a host of assessment needs. The basic premise behind a CAT is that it provides a test examiner or administrator the ability to individually assess a respondent by selecting and presenting items based on the respondent's ability or trait level (theta). Unlike a respondent's true score in classical test theory (Allen & Yen, 2002; Crocker & Algina, 1986), which is conditional on the test (or set of items) in question, the theta (or ability) score is a characteristic of the respondent and is independent of test content (Lord & Novick, 1968) Typically starting with an item around the ...

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