Implementing computerized adaptative test

Dario Cecilio-Fernandes


Traditionally, the assessment of knowledge consists of items, who students answered the same items at the same time, such as test of a specific subject. This assessment may be considered too easy or difficulty by the student. In both cases, the test is likely to be boring by the students and it may provide little information on students’ knowledge level. One way of solving this problem is by creating tailored tests for each student, considering that the next question will be selected based on students’ performance on previous items. This type of test is known as computerized adaptative test. Computerized adaptative test provides both educational and psychometrics advantages compared to the traditional paper-pen testing. Computerized adaptative test requires less items than the traditional test, which in turns will decrease students’ fatigue, and optimizing learning. Furthermore, computerized adaptative test is designed for each student, considering the level of difficulty of each item. This makes the teste more attractive and authentic, since the items will be always aligned with the level of students’ knowledge. Since computerized adaptative test requires both the difficulty of the item and students’ ability, it requires the use of Item Response Theory, which establish a relation between difficulty of the item, students’ ability and the probability of answering a question correctly. Although the implementation of computerized adaptative test is complex, computerized adaptative test has a higher standard in both psychometric point of view and the alignment with modern theories of learning. Because of the high complexity, the implementation of computerized adaptative test is usually in high-stakes test and large scale. However, the new educational paradigm in which requires tailored-made education respecting the pace of each student, the computerized adaptative test will be more used over time.


Medical education; educational assessment; computerized adaptive test.


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