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Update on IACAT 2012 Conference in Sydney, Australia
The conference website has been updated with accepted presentations – go to the “Program” tab in the website (www.iacat.org) to view. Presenters from the United States, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, United Kingdom, Canada, China, Australia, Japan, India, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, etc. who will discuss the latest research, theory and applications of CAT.  Register now (note that registrations include lunch and coffee/tea) and join us in Sydney, Australia in August!

Although deadline for proposals has passed, there is room for three more presentations. Please submit an abstract via the website.  Note that grants are available to graduate students, supporting both research and travel; please visit https://assess.com/xcart/pages.php?pageid=9 for more information.

FastTest Web updates
Every month sees advanced new functionality added to FastTest Web (www.fasttestweb.com), our industry-leading platform for item authoring, secure test delivery, and management of testing programs.  Recent additions include an asset manager module for multimedia, split-screen testlets (example: reading passage on left, questions on the right), and the ability to divide your test into multiple sections with separate time limits and other options.  Upcoming features include an interactive on-screen ruler (allowing students to measure objects) and an enhanced psychometric analysis report to evaluate essential aspects of the test (including score reliability, item difficulty, item discrimination, and distractor analysis).

ASC presents at 2012 SIOP Conference
ASC presented a mini-workshop on the development of computerized adaptive tests (CATs) at the Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology (SIOP) conference.  We will also be presenting at the IACAT 2012 Conference in Sydney, Australia.

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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@54.89.150.95.

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 https://assess.com/xcart/pages.php?pageid=10.  If you do not yet have CATSim, a free demo version is available at https://assess.com/xcart/product.php?productid=555.

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 https://assess.com/research.php.

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

http://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work.html 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)

This post finds me writing from Arnhem, The Netherlands, home of Cito and host to the IACAT 2010 conference.  I’m looking forward to hearing some of the excellent CAT research that is happening around the world.  The conference has 130 participants from approximately 45 countries – and the organization is only one year old!

 

FastTEST Web (www.fasttestweb.com) has seen several important additions over the last month.  Perhaps the most unique is an API functionality, which allows other software systems to interface efficiently.  For example, if your organization has its own test delivery engine, but wishes to utilize FastTEST Web‘s powerful item banking, you can now easily make use of both.  The next addition is to increase the number of reports available, both on the item bank itself and on examinee data.

 

ASC has also continued to work on the new Iteman 4.  Version 4.1 will be released soon, which includes additional output (both graphical and statistical), as well as the capability to work with polytomously scored items (rating scale or partial credit).  This version will even be able to work with mixed-format tests, such as a test composed primarily of multiple-choice items with a few open-response items at the end.  It is a free upgrade from version 4.0, so make sure to update your copy.

 

We will also soon be releasing two more updates.  ScoreAll 2.0 provides an additional level of detail in scoring conventional tests as well as updated interface.  POSTSIM 3.0 cements its spot as the foremost software for computerized adaptive testing (CAT) research by now providing hybrid simulations, a new methodology developed by David Weiss.  This methodology is especially useful because it is designed for sparse matrices, which typically occurs in CAT pilot testing.

After more than a year of development, Iteman 4 is now ready for release!  A second beta version was announced to our mailing list in late March.  Given the positive feedback, the complete version will be released to the public during the week of April 5.  An announcement will be sent to the mailing list with a link to the Iteman 4 webpage.  Upgrade discounts are available.

FastTEST Web has also been released to beta users, but improvements continue to be made before the first public version is released.  We are already adding enhancements requested by users, such as item import options, an embedded equation editor, and a split-screen item format (to present a reading passage on one half and the test question on the other half).

We have been receiving inquiries about FastTEST Web for years, so this is highly anticipated.  What sets it apart from other systems is that it is not just a online test delivery engine; it is a test development system that is designed for measurement professionals, including certification/licensure managers, training managers, district assessment coordinators, psychometricians, and university professors.

Another workshop is now being planned: October 2010, outside Shanghai, China.  Stay tuned for more information on our website or via an email announcement.

Lately, I have been busy with the first IACAT election.  If you have not already voted, there is still some time.  Polls close on April 7.  Results will be released soon after that.  Board meetings will then be able to take place at the IACAT conference at Arnhem in June.  ASC psychometricians will be at the IACAT conference to present our research.  We hope to see you there!

I just got back from another workshop on IRT and CAT, this one at the Universita G. d’Annunzio, Chieti, Italy.  Many thanks to Aristide Saggino and Roberta Romanelli for doing such a great job organizing this workshop!  It was truly an international affair, with participants from the US, Canada, UK, Belgium, Portugal, Switzerland, Italy, Malta, Croatia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, Brunei, and Korea.  Plus, besides getting to experience the Abruzzo region, many of us were lucky enough to spend a day or two visiting Rome.

 

Several participants inquired about future workshops, and the possibility of organizing one for their home country.  ASC currently has two future workshops tentatively planned: Tokyo (Sept 4-5, 2010) and Brasilia (June 2011).

 

Iteman 4

Iteman 4 is nearing release.  We are currently finishing the manual and the installation package for the program.  Once those are finished, it will be placed on the website.  Check back for news.

 

IACAT News for March

The first IACAT elections are being held in the middle of March 2010.  Visit www.iacat.org for more information.

One of the most important developments in psychometrics during 2009 was the founding of the International Association for Computerized Adaptive Testing (IACAT).  IACAT’s mission is to encourage scholarly efforts and education regarding adaptive testing.  Learn more at www.iacat.org.

IACAT’s first meeting will be in June 2010.  The call for papers (released in November 2009) is found below.

___________________________________________________________________

The International Association for Computerized Adaptive Testing (IACAT) is a nascent organization dedicated to advancing computerized adaptive testing (CAT) through research and education.  IACAT is planning to hold its first annual conference June 7-9, 2010.  The conference will take place in Arnhem, The Netherlands, and is hosted by the Research Center for Examination and Certification (RCEC: www.rcec.nl), a partnership between Cito (www.cito.com) and the University of Twente (www.universiteittwente.nl/en).

IACAT welcomes proposals for conference presentations at this time.  Presentations will be in one of two formats: a 20-minute session and a traditional poster format.  We also welcome proposals for organized symposia involving related papers and discussion.  Proposals must include title, authors, and a description of 300 words or less.  To submit a proposal, please visit the conference webpage at www.iacat.org.

CAT research generally falls into two categories: theoretical research on algorithms and applications of CAT.  Both types of research are welcome at the conference; please also specify the category when submitting.  Proposals will be evaluated on technical quality, practical applicability, advancement of knowledge, and perceived interest to participants.

 

The Conference is organized by a committee consisting of:

Clifford Donath, Donath Group, USA

Theo Eggen, Cito, University of Twente, Netherlands

Nathan Thompson, Assessment Systems Corporation,USA

David Weiss, University of Minnesota, USA

Birgit Olthof, RCEC, University of Twente, Netherlands