ASC News-Feb 13, 2012

psychometrician partnership

ASC Update – February 2012

Here are some brief updates and news for February 2012…

ASC to conduct IRT/CAT Workshop in Botswana – 15 seats open!

ASC will be conducting an applied workshop on item response theory (IRT) and computerized adaptive testing (CAT), March 5-9 at the Grand Palm resort in Gaborone, Botswana.  The workshop is hosted by the Botswana Examinations Council for the benefit of countries in the South African Development Community (SADC).  Approximately 15 seats remain open for researchers and practitioners from Africa.  The cost is approximately $275; participants are responsible for their travel and lodging expenses.  If you are interested in attending, please email solutions@

CATSim update

CATSim, the essential program for CAT simulation research, is now available as Version 1.0.6.  Changes include (1) when the classification termination option is used, a new table reports all examinee classifications in addition to the “high-confidence” classifications, and the examinee report differentiates between the two types of classifications; (2) with variable termination and constraints, a new termination type reports that examinees exhausted the item bank before other termination options were reached; and (3) an error using the graded response model with “reversed” item parameters was fixed.  Current license holders can download the no-cost update from  If you do not yet have CATSim, a free demo version is available at

Tech Report: Comparison of Xcalibre 4 and BILOG-MG

A technical report was recently released which provides a comparison of Xcalibre 4 and BILOG-MG, the world’s two leading software programs for item response theory (IRT) analysis.  The two are compared in terms of parameter recovery, which is an appropriate methodology to evaluate the accuracy of IRT parameter estimates.  For the majority of conditions studied, Xcalibre 4 produced more accurate calibrations.  A full copy of the report is at

FastTEST Web implements powerful new lockdown browser

FastTEST Web, the world’s most advanced system for internet-based item banking and test delivery, has implemented a new “lockdown” delivery system, WebLock.  WebLock is a special browser that greatly enhances test security by 1) preventing the examinee from accessing any internet sites, 2) preventing the examinee from accessing any information/programs on their computer, and 3) checking for specific software that is a security concern, such as screen-capture programs.  These advantages make it ideal for high-security tests in fields like education, certification, and employment.  Moreover, this is in addition to other important FTW security advantages like role-based access, examinee passwords, and the use of an internal adaptive testing engine.

Happiness and work Interesting talk on psychology and work – with some unintentional commentary on the Rasch model around 4:00. (removing some data points simply because you don’t like them, with the excuse of measurement error)

The following two tabs change content below.

Nathan Thompson, PhD

Nathan Thompson earned his PhD in Psychometrics from the University of Minnesota, with a focus on computerized adaptive testing. His undergraduate degree was from Luther College with a triple major of Mathematics, Psychology, and Latin. He is primarily interested in the use of AI and software automation to augment and replace the work done by psychometricians, which has provided extensive experience in software design and programming. Dr. Thompson has published over 100 journal articles and conference presentations, but his favorite remains