Description: A Monte Carlo simulation study investigated the effect of scoring format, item parameterization, threshold configuration, and prior ability distribution on the accuracy of ability estimation given various IRT models. Item response data on 30 items from 1,000 examinees was simulated using known item parameters and ability estimates. The item response data sets were submitted to seven dichotomous or polytomous IRT models with different item parameterization to estimate examinee ability. The accuracy of the ability estimation for a given IRT model was assessed by the recovery rate and the root mean square errors. The results indicated that polytomous models produced more accurate ability estimates than the dichotomous models, under all combinations of research conditions, as indicated by higher recovery rates and lower root mean square errors. For the item parameterization models, the one-parameter model out-performed the two-parameter and three-parameter models under all research conditions. Among the polytomous models, the partial credit model had more accurate ability estimation than the other three polytomous models. The nominal categories model performed better than the general partial credit model and the multiple-choice model with the multiple-choice model the least accurate. The results further indicated that certain prior ability distributions had an effect on the accuracy of ability estimation; however, no clear order of accuracy among the four prior distribution groups was identified due to an interaction between prior ability distribution and threshold configuration. The recovery rate was lower when the test items had categories with unequal threshold distances, were close at one end of the ability/difficulty continuum, and were administered to a sample of examinees whose population ability distribution was skewed to the same end of the ability continuum.
Date: May 2002
Creator: Si, Ching-Fung B.