Multidimensional adaptive testing with optimal design criteria for item selection

Joris Mulder, Wim J. van der Linden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)
74 Downloads (Pure)


Several criteria from the optimal design literature are examined for use with item selection in multidimensional adaptive testing. In particular, it is examined what criteria are appropriate for adaptive testing in which all abilities are intentional, some should be considered as a nuisance, or the interest is in the testing of a composite of the abilities. Both the theoretical analyses and the studies of simulated data in this paper suggest that the criteria of A-optimality and D-optimality lead to the most accurate estimates when all abilities are intentional, with the former slightly outperforming the latter. The criterion of E-optimality showed occasional erratic behavior for this case of adaptive testing, and its use is not recommended. If some of the abilities are nuisances, application of the criterion of As-optimality (or Ds-optimality), which focuses on the subset of intentional abilities is recommended. For the measurement of a linear combination of abilities, the criterion of c-optimality yielded the best results. The preferences of each of these criteria for items with specific patterns of parameter values was also assessed. It was found that the criteria differed mainly in their preferences of items with different patterns of values for their discrimination parameters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-296
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Optimal design
  • Multidimensional IRT
  • Fisher information matrix
  • Adaptive testing


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