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Introduction to Nonparametric Item Response Theory

Introduction to Nonparametric Item Response Theory

March 2002 | 176 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

"This manuscript addresses an important and complex topic in test development in a manner that is precise and accurate, yet very accessible to students and practitioners with a modest background in classical test theory and item response theory. It also provides an excellent introduction to nonparametric IRT models for the more mathematically sophisticated student or faculty member who will welcome the extensive additional reading lists that are found at the conclusion of each chapter."

—LINDA F. WIGHTMAN, School of Education, University of N. Carolina, Greensboro


"I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and liked the clear way the authors have worked through the chapters and examples. There are rich examples with plenty of exercises that encouraged me to try these methods with my own data. The quality of the interpretation is rich, particularly in the polytomous item domain. It is well worth having on the shelf as a reference tool and as available for graduate students who wish to know more."

—JOHN HATTIE, Head of the School of Education, University of Auckland, NZ

This book introduces social and behavioral science students and researchers to the theory and practice of the highly powerful methods of nonparametric item response theory (IRT). Anyone who uses or constructs tests or questionnaires for measuring abilities, achievements, personality traits, attitudes, or opinions will find nonparametric IRT useful for designing and improving such measurements. The authors show how the broadness of the nonparametric item response models allows them to fit many data sets and remain powerful enough for implying useful measurement properties, such as the ordering of persons using the simple total score (number-correct for dichotomous item tests and sum of rating scale score for polytomous item tests) and the ordering of the items using the item means. Many data analysis examples are given in the book, and a user-friendly computer program used throughout the book supports data analysis using nonparametric IRT. Given the importance of school admissions, certification, personnel selection, marketing, social policy evaluation, quality-of-life measurements, and assessments of deviant behavior, this book is a must read for students or researchers engaged in this work.







Introduction to Nonparametric Item Response Theory is an accessible introduction to constructing tests/scales using nonparametric IRT. It should be of great use to social scientists who construct their own measurement instruments, as well as those who provide them statistical support. For those who focus on larger scale standardized tests, the volume provides a refreshing step back to look at some important issues in the field and some alternative methods of analysis.”

Journal of the American Statistical Association

The authors covered the basics of IRT in a plain language. This textbook is not difficult to follow by readers that have little or no previous knowledge on IRT.
The only difficulties students may find are that the approach is very theoretical and equations driven, and the practical application of the material with specific software requires further literature.
Overall the textbook is a great supplementary material and essential for the understanding of IRT.

Dr Bruno Schivinski
Business, Law & Social Sciences, Nottingham Trent University
January 13, 2016

A detailed and thorough introduction to this complex area. I found it very useful and interesting personally for my own understanding of advanced measurement theory relating to psychometrics and assessment.

Dr Stephen Greenwood
Medical Education, Bristol University
February 14, 2013
Key features
  • shows how the broadness of the nonparametric item response models allows readers to fit to many data sets and still be powerful enough for implying useful measurement properties
  • provides a rich array of data analysis examples
  • includes a user-friendly computer program for item analysis that supports data analysis using nonparametric IRT 

For instructors

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ISBN: 9780761908135

ISBN: 9780761908128

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