For those unfamiliar with Item Response Theory, it is a statistical theory and related methodology that relates a series of item responses (binary, ordinal or nominal) to one or more latent variables (e.g. mathematical ability, depression, … ).  It is similar to factor analysis, but suitable for analysis of discrete manifest variables.  The goal of IRT is to estimate parameters related to the items (e.g. difficulty and discrimination) and parameters related to the individual (e.g. ability or severity of illness).  An enormous advantage of IRT is that once calibrated, the specific items administered to an examinee can be different and tailored to their level of ability or impairment, which is learned through adaptive administration of selected items from a large previously calibrated bank of possible items.  This contrasts traditional measurement, based on classical test theory, which requires a fixed and typically small set of items that are administered to all examinees regardless of their aptitude.

In Item Response Theory, accomplished psychometricians Darrell Bock and Robert Gibbons deliver a comprehensive and up-to-date exploration of the theoretical foundations and applications of Item Response Theory (IRT). Covering both unidimensional and multidimensional IRT, as well as related adaptive test administration of previously calibrated item banks, the book addresses the growing need for understanding of this topic as the use of IRT spreads to other fields.

About the Authors:

Darrell Bock is Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago and is one of the world’s leading psychometricians. He coined the term Item Response Theory. Bock advanced measurement in the social, behavioral and educational sciences to the levels of precision and accuracy enjoyed in the physical sciences.  In addition, Bock has made contributions to numerous other areas of mathematical and statistical thinking including linear algebra, multivariate statistics, and quantitative genetics. 

Robert Gibbons is the Blum-Riese Professor of Biostatistics and Pritzker Scholar at the University of Chicago. He is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, the Royal Statistical Society, and the International Statistical Institute. He is a pioneer of Multidimensional Item Response Theory.

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