TitleSmall sample estimation in dichotomous item response models: Effect of priors based on judgmental information on the accuracy of item parameter estimates
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsSwaminathan, H, Hambleton, RK, Sireci, SG, Xing, D, Rizavi, SM
JournalApplied Psychological Measurement
Publication Languageeng

Large item banks with properly calibrated test items are essential for ensuring the validity of computer-based tests. At the same time, item calibrations with small samples are desirable to minimize the amount of pretesting and limit item exposure. Bayesian estimation procedures show considerable promise with small examinee samples. The purposes of the study were (a) to examine how prior information for Bayesian item parameter estimation can be specified and (b) to investigate the relationship between sample size and the specification of prior information on the accuracy of item parameter estimates. The results of the simulation study were clear: Estimation of item response theory (IRT) model item parameters can be improved considerably. Improvements in the one-parameter model were modest; considerable improvements with the two- and three-parameter models were observed. Both the study of different forms of priors and ways to improve the judgmental data used in forming the priors appear to be promising directions for future research.