Item response theory (IRT) represents an important innovation in the field of psychometrics. While now 50 years old – assuming the “birth” is the classic Lord and Novick (1969) text – it is still underutilized and remains a mystery to many practitioners. So what is item response theory, and why was it invented? Classical test […]
About Nathan Thompson, PhD
I am a psychometrician, software developer, author, and researcher, currently serving as Chief Product Officer for Assessment Systems Corporation (ASC). My mission is to elevate the profession of psychometrics by using software to automate the menial stuff like job analysis and Angoff studies, so we can focus on more innovative work. My core goal is to improve assessment throughout the world.
I was originally trained as a psychometrician, doing an undergrad at Luther College in Math/Psych/Latin and then a PhD in Psychometrics at the University of Minnesota. I then worked multiple roles in the testing industry, including item writer, test development manager, essay test marker, consulting psychometrician, software developer, project manager, and business leader.
Research and innovation are incredibly important to me. In addition to my own research, I am cofounder and Membership Director at the International Association for Computerized Adaptive Testing, You can often find me at other important conferences like ATP, ICE, CLEAR, and NCME. I've published many papers and presentations, and my favorite remains http://pareonline.net/getvn.asp?v=16&n=1.
Entries by Nathan Thompson, PhD
Technavio recently released a market analysis on K-12 Assessment Trends. They concluded that there are three big trends currently impacting the testing world: Emphasis on cognitive testing and assessment Increase in number of standardized test-optional institutions Rising penetration of cloud computing The second of the 3 K-12 Assessment Trends is not on assessment itself (or psychometrics, the […]
ASC attended the 2016 Conference on Test Security (COTS), held October 18-20 in Cedar Rapids IA, graciously hosted by Pearson. The conference brings together thought leaders on all aspects of test security, including statistical detection of test fraud, management of test centers, candidate agreements, investigations, and legal implications. ASC was lucky enough to win three […]
If you are delivering high stakes tests in linear forms – or piloting a bank for CAT/LOFT – you are faced with the issue of how to equate the forms together. That is, how can we defensibly translate a score on Form A to a score on Form B? While the concept is simple, the […]
SIFT: Software for Investigating Test Fraud Test fraud is an extremely common occurrence. We’ve all seen articles like this one. However, there are very few defensible tools to help detect it. I once saw a webinar from an online testing provider that proudly touted their reports on test security… but it turned out that all […]
The “opt out” movement is a supposedly-grass-roots movement against K-12 standardized testing, primarily focusing action on encouraging parents to refuse to allow their kids to take tests. The absolutely bizarre part of this is that large scale test scores are rarely used for individual impact on the student, and that tests take up only a […]
Every Spring, the Association of Test Publishers (ATP) hosts its annual conference, Innovations in Testing. This is the leading conference in the testing industry, with nearly 1000 people from major testing vendors and a wide range of test sponsors, from school districts to certification boards to employment testing companies. While the technical depth is much lower […]
A psychometrician is someone who practices psychometrics – the Science of Assessment. That is, they are familiar with the scientific literature devoted to the development of fair, high-quality assessments, and they use this knowledge to improve assessments. Psychometricians learn about many different topics, and can take a number of slants, such as applied vs. academic, […]
Item response theory (IRT) is the dominant psychometric paradigm for constructing, scoring, and analyzing assessments. Virtually all large-scale assessments utilize IRT because of its well-documented advantages. In many cases, however, it is referred to as a single way of analyzing data. However, IRT is actually a family of models, and a growing family at that. […]
The United States Congress recently passed the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act. This provides policies and authorizations for 2016 but no budgetary appropriations, which is done with subsequent legislation. While these Acts and related ones happen all the time, they rarely have direct impact on the field of testing and assessment. This one is different. There […]