TitleComputerized Adaptive Testing for Cognitive Diagnosis in Classroom: A Nonparametric Approach
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsChang, Y-P, Chiu, C-Y, Tsai, R-C
Conference NameIACAT 2017 Conference
Date Published08/2017
PublisherNiigata Seiryo University
Conference LocationNiigata, Japan
KeywordsCD-CAT, non-parametric approach

In the past decade, CDMs of educational test performance have received increasing attention among educational researchers (for details, see Fu & Li, 2007, and Rupp, Templin, & Henson, 2010). CDMs of educational test performance decompose the ability domain of a given test into specific skills, called attributes, each of which an examinee may or may not have mastered. The resulting attribute profile documents the individual’s strengths and weaknesses within the ability domain. The Cognitive Diagnostic Computerized Adaptive Testing (CD-CAT) has been suggested by researchers as a diagnostic tool for assessment and evaluation (e.g., Cheng & Chang, 2007; Cheng, 2009; Liu, You, Wang, Ding, & Chang, 2013; Tatsuoka & Tatsuoka, 1997). While model-based CD-CAT is relatively well-researched in the context of large-scale assessments, this type of system has not received the same degree of development in small-scale settings, where it would be most useful. The main challenge is that the statistical estimation techniques successfully applied to the parametric CD-CAT require large samples to guarantee the reliable calibration of item parameters and accurate estimation of examinees’ attribute profiles. In response to the challenge, a nonparametric approach that does not require any parameter calibration, and thus can be used in small educational programs, is proposed. The proposed nonparametric CD-CAT relies on the same principle as the regular CAT algorithm, but uses the nonparametric classification method (Chiu & Douglas, 2013) to assess and update the student’s ability state while the test proceeds. Based on a student’s initial responses, 2 a neighborhood of candidate proficiency classes is identified, and items not characteristic of the chosen proficiency classes are precluded from being chosen next. The response to the next item then allows for an update of the skill profile, and the set of possible proficiency classes is further narrowed. In this manner, the nonparametric CD-CAT cycles through item administration and update stages until the most likely proficiency class has been pinpointed. The simulation results show that the proposed method outperformed the compared parametric CD-CAT algorithms and the differences were significant when the item parameter calibration was not optimal.


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