Comparisons of subscoring methods in computerized adaptive testing: a simulation study

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Fu Liu (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Terry Ackerman

Abstract: Given the increasing demands of subscore reports, various subscoring methods and augmentation techniques have been developed aiming to improve the subscore estimates, but few studies have been conducted to systematically compare these methods under the framework of computerized adaptive tests (CAT). This research conducts a simulation study, for the purpose of comparing five subscoring methods on score estimation under variable simulated CAT conditions. Among the five subscoring methods, the IND-UCAT scoring ignores the correlations among subtests, whereas the other four correlation-based scoring methods (SEQ-CAT, PC-MCAT, reSEQ-CAT, and AUG-CAT) capitalize on the correlation information in the scoring procedure. By manipulating the sublengths, the correlation structures, and the item selection algorithms, more comparable, pragmatic, and systematic testing scenarios are created for comparison purposes. Also, to make the best of the sources underlying the assessments, the study proposes a successive scoring procedure according to the structure of the higher-order IRT model, in which the test total score of individual examinees can be calculated after the subscore estimation procedure is conducted. Through the successive scoring procedure, the subscores and the total score of an examinee can be sequentially derived from one test. The results of the study indicate that in the low correlation structure, the original IND-CAT is suggested for subscore estimation considering the ease of implementation in practice, while the suggested total score estimation procedure is not recommended given the large divergences from the true total scores. For the mixed correlation structure with two moderate correlations and one strong correlation, the original SEQ-CAT or the combination of the SEQ-CAT item selection and the PC-MCAT scoring should be considered not only for subscore estimation but also for total score estimation. If the post-hoc estimation procedure is allowed, the original SEQ-CAT and the reSEQ-CAT scoring could be jointly conducted for the best score estimates. In the high correlation structure, the original PC-MCAT and the combination of the PC-MCAT scoring and the SEQ-CAT item selection are suggested for both the subscore estimation and the total score estimation. In terms of the post-hoc score estimation, the reSEQ-CAT scoring in conjunction with the original SEQ-CAT is strongly recommended. If the complexity of the implementation is an issue in practice, the reSEQ-CAT scoring jointly conducted with the original IND-UCAT could be considered for reasonable score estimates. Additionally, to compensate for the constrained use of item pools in PC-MCAT, the PC-MCAT with adaptively sequencing subtests (SEQ-MCAT) is proposed for future investigations. The simplifications of item and/or subtest selection criteria in a simple-structure MCAT, PC-MCAT, and SEQ-MCAT are also pointed out for the convenience of their applications in practice. Last, the limitations of the study are discussed and the directions for future studies are also provided.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2015
Adaptively sequencing a test battery, Augmented subscore, Computerized adaptive test, Multidimensional CAT, Post-hoc augmentation, Subscoring and scoring
Computer adaptive testing
Educational tests and measurements

Email this document to