Item Response Analysis Task

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An Item Response Analysis Task is an analysis task to induce an item-level model.



    • In psychometrics, item response theory (IRT) also known as latent trait theory, strong true score theory, or modern mental test theory, is a paradigm for the design, analysis, and scoring of tests, questionnaires, and similar instruments measuring abilities, attitudes, or other variables. Unlike simpler alternatives for creating scales as the simple sum questionnaire responses it does not assume that each item is equally difficult. This distinguishes IRT from, for instance, the assumption in Likert scaling that “All items are assumed to be replications of each other or in other words items are considered to be parallel instruments[1] (p. 197). By contrast, item response theory treats the difficulty of each item (the ICCs) as information to be incorporated in scaling items.

      It is based on the application of related mathematical models to testing data. Because it is generally regarded as superior to classical test theory, it is the preferred method for developing scales, especially when optimal decisions are demanded, as in so-called high-stakes tests e.g. the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).

      The name item response theory is due to the focus of the theory on the item, as opposed to the test-level focus of classical test theory. Thus IRT models the response of each examinee of a given ability to each item in the test. The term item is generic: covering all kinds of informative item. They might be multiple choice questions that have incorrect and correct responses, but are also commonly statements on questionnaires that allow respondents to indicate level of agreement (a rating or Likert scale), or patient symptoms scored as present/absent, or diagnostic information in complex systems.

      IRT is based on the idea that the probability of a correct/keyed response to an item is a mathematical function of person and item parameters. The person parameter is construed as (usually) a single latent trait or dimension. Examples include general intelligence or the strength of an attitude. Parameters on which items are characterized include their difficulty (known as "location" for their location on the difficulty range), discrimination (slope or correlation) representing how steeply the rate of success of individuals varies with their ability, and a pseudoguessing parameter, characterising the (lower) asymptote at which even the least able persons will score due to guessing (for instance, 25% for pure chance on a 4-item multiple choice item).

  1. A. van Alphen, R. Halfens, A. Hasman and T. Imbos. (1994). Likert or Rasch? Nothing is more applicable than good theory. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 20, 196-201