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Computer Adaptive Testing of Student Knowledge

Keywords: computer adaptive testing , Item Response Theory , e-assessment

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Abstract:

Technological progress, responsible for the declining costs of computers, coupledwith the advancement of computer adaptive software have promoted computer adaptivetesting (CAT) in higher education, offering alternatives to the conventional paper andpencil examinations. The CAT testing process, statistically conducted through ItemResponse Theory, is able to react to the individual examinee, keeping examinees on targetwith test items of an appropriate level of difficulty. The basic goal of adaptive computertests is to ensure the examinee is supplied questions that are challenging enough for thembut not too difficult, which would lead to frustration and confusion. The paper presents aCAT system realized in MATLAB along with its development steps. The application can runfrom a Matlab command window, or it is possible to make a stand-alone application thatdoes not require the installation of Matlab. The questions are written in a .txt file. Thisallows the examiner to easily modify and extend the question database, without specificknowledge of the syntax of any programming language. The only requirement is for theexaminer (but it is only required) to follow a pre-determined format of question writing.The program enables the testing of student knowledge in C++.

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