August, 2010

I spent yesterday presenting at the Minnesota Assessment Conference.  My congratulations and thanks to the folks at the Minnesota Department of Education for again organizing a wonderful event with a huge range of topics, from technical psychometric issues all the way to practical district-level topics.  ASC’s plans for upcoming conferences include the CLEAR conference (Sept.  23-25), the European AEA conference (Nov. 4-6), and the Maryland Assessment Conference (Nov. 17-19).  We are also holding a workshop on Sept. 4-5 in Tokyo, Japan.


I often get inquiries from around the world about where the next ASC workshop is going to take place.  Given today’s economy, traveling long distances is not always an option, but assessment professionals still want to learn more about IRT and CAT.  For this reason, we have released a recording of our workshop in June 2009.  Now anyone can attend a workshop, for a fraction of the cost of attending in person.


FastTEST Web ( continues to be improved.  Development in July focused on the addition of a Reporting module.  Its purpose is to make test development more efficient by providing informative reports, such as a detailed assessment of the item bank to indicate where more questions are needed, or the current status of tests in your testing program.  The next addition will be computerized adaptive testing (CAT), which will allow anyone to easily create and deliver adaptive tests.


The new Iteman 4.1 is slated for release in August.   The most recent additions include a complete reliability analysis and a wizard-type interface for setting up multiple runs.  If you haven’t looked at Iteman 4 yet, I encourage you to check it out.  It is unique in that it is not designed just for statistical analysis, but to actually produce customized reports of high enough quality to provide to stakeholders – in mere seconds.

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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