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School of Education - Educational Research Methodology

Dr. Henson Receives Federal Grant to Develop Diagnostic Classification Models

Dr. Bob Henson, Associate Professor of ERM, has recently been awarded a three-year grant funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the US Department of Education, entitled Development of Accessible IRT-Based Models and Methodologies for Improving the Breadth and Accuracy of Item Option-Scored Diagnostic Assessments. The funded project advances a new set of diagnostic classification models, which are a set of multivariate item response theory models for which the latent variables are categorical. While traditional diagnostic classification models estimate the examinee’s mastery profile from the pattern of correct and incorrect responses to test items such that all distractors are treated uniformly as incorrect, the proposed models will also consider which specific incorrect options are selected to further inform the examinee’s mastery profile. These models hold promise for the highly efficient measurement of student skill mastery, which will better inform student strengths and weaknesses in educational settings. The funded project will develop estimation software for the models in question, and test the models using real and simulated data sets.

Dr. Henson is an internationally recognized leader in the field of diagnostic classification models. The award of this highly competitive grant is further recognition of his expertise and ground-breaking work in this area. The work conducted on this project will lead to innovations in formative assessment that can be used by teachers to help improve student learning.

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