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ASC provides a number of psychometrics tutorial videos regarding our leading-edge software, to help customers better understand the use of the software as well as advanced concepts in psychometrics.  This, in turn, helps you develop higher quality tests and assessments, enhancing reliability and validity.

We have recently released two new videos: Item Response Theory with Xcalibre 4, and an Introduction to Item Writing.

Xcalibre is landmark software that not only analyzes data with item response theory, but automatically builds tech reports in MS Word with embedded graphics, tables, and narratives.  This saves many hours of drudgery work from psychometricians, which is expensive!

Videos are available on our our YouTube Channel.

Xcalibre 4 updates
Xcalibre 4is the most user-friendly software available for item response theory (IRT) analysis.  An update has been recently released, which includes a number of bug fixes and enhancements, including an addition of distractor (quantile) plots into the output.  These plots provide an excellent method for evaluating multiple-choice distractors by combining IRT and classical test theory.  We have also added a new fit plot with standard errors to the report document and percentiles to the scores spreadsheet.  Current license holders can download the no-cost update from https://assess.com/xcart/pages.php?pageid=10.  If you do not yet have Xcalibre 4, a free demo version is available at https://assess.com/xcart/product.php?productid=569.

Iteman 4 updates
We have also released an update for Iteman 4, the leading software for analysis with classical test theory (CTT).  This update focuses on bug fixes and maintenance.  If you have a current license, you can download the update at https://assess.com/xcart/pages.php?pageid=10.  If you do not yet have Iteman 4, a free demo version is available at https://assess.com/xcart/product.php?productid=541.

Conferences page on ASC website updated for 2012
ASC provides a number of resources to professionals in the field of testing and psychometrics, including a list of major conferences in the field.  We have updated that list for 2012 at https://assess.com/conferences.php… see where you want to go!  ASC has plans to be at the SIOP, IACAT, and ICE conferences.

Connect with ASC on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is an essential social networking site for professionals of all fields.  It marks an important advancement in professional connectivity.  ASC has had a page on LinkedIn for a number of years; if you aren’t already following us, please visit http://www.linkedin.com/company/assessment-systems-corporation. We also update our news at the ASC blog.

Free training videos released
ASC hosts one or two workshops every year (one workshop was just recently held, January 23-25 in Brazil) and presents at a number of conferences, but we realize that not everyone is able to attend.  Therefore, ASC is publishing a set of tutorial videos on our software and important issues in psychometrics, like item response theory and computerized adaptive testing.  The videos are available for free at https://assess.com/tutorials.php.  Two have been completed so far: Running Iteman 4 and Interpreting Iteman 4 Output.

ASC to present at 2012 SIOP Conference
ASC will present a mini-workshop on the development of computerized adaptive tests (CATs) at the Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology (SIOP) conference.  The session is scheduled for 1:30 PM on Friday, April 27.  More information is available at the SIOP website.

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 (www.fasttestweb.com) 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.

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.

May, 2010

As of May 5, FastTEST Web is now available to the public!  Please visit www.fasttestweb.com to see some of the features and watch a video of it in action.  We continue to add new features every day – so if there is something you would like to see in an online test development system, please contact me.

The buzz on Iteman 4 continues to grow!  It has been out for approximately a month now, and orders continue to roll in.  Iteman 4 is designed not just to analyze test data, but to produce formal reports – saving you the time of copying and pasting tables and figures for each item.  Remember that there are discounts available both for multiple users and for multiple years (e.g., purchasing 3 years up front rather than the annual renewal).

We continue to add new features to Iteman 4, including the choice of quantile plot groups, and support for polytomous and mixed-format tests.  In addition, Xcalibre is being re-engineered in the same spirit as Iteman 4.

The first IACAT election is complete; results are posted at iacat.org.  The Board is now working on establishing a vision and future for the organization.  Of course, the most immediate future is the conference in June.  A program will be posted shortly.

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!

IACAT 2010 Deadline

First thing to note this month: the deadline for proposals to present at IACAT 2010 (Arnhem, the Netherlands) is February 15, 2010.

 

New research

I added a good amount of research to the ASC research page, https://assess.com/psychometric-research/.  There are now links to 15 published articles, technical reports, white papers, and conference presentations.  Please peruse if you have not already.

 

In the works

ASC is currently in the final stages of two huge projects.  Iteman 4 provides extensive classical analysis of multiple-choice tests.  The previous version, Iteman 3.6, produced simple ASCII text output, but version 4 will produce professional reports, complete with colored figures and tables.  The other project is FastTEST Web, which will provide a web-based solution for item banking, test assembly, examinee management, and online testing.  If you are interested in either of these products, for purchase or as an advanced beta tester, please contact me at nthompson *at* assess.com.

 

CITAS

Most of the software ASC sells is targeted towards researchers and other users that are psychometrically sophisticated, and have the budgets to buy sophisticated software.  An important addition to our arsenal last year was CITAS: the classical item and test analysis spreadsheet.  CITAS is designed to provide a detailed classical psychometric analysis of your test, but with two notably differences from other software.  First, it is free, so it fits into everybody’s budget.  Second, it is designed so that anyone can use it, because it requires no “running” the program by knowing what buttons to click or special codes to write.  All you have to do is type in your data (the item responses), and the output automatically populates.  This requires no expertise in either software or psychometrics, making it ideal for people on the front lines of education, such as school teachers, professors, or training directors.