3rd June 2019 : 12:45 - 14:00

Category: Seminar

Research Group: Quantitative Methods Hub

Speaker: Aiden Loe, The Psychometrics Centre, University of Cambridge

Location: Seminar Room D, Department of Education

Professional item writers usually create educational items manually. However, a large percentage of items are often discarded after empirical analysis, which is costly and time-consuming for test publishers.

Furthermore, the increased application of remote online testing via modern day technology (e.g. computer, smartphone, tablets) have made it easier than ever for test-takers to compromise test security and increase the risk of exposing the items. How can we improve the efficiency of the item development process and ensure that there are sufficient items with excellent psychometric properties in the item bank without incurring a higher significant cost? Automatic Item Generation (AIG) is an emergent discipline that uses computational means to create new items on-the-fly with the goal of producing items with acceptable psychometric properties. In this talk, I will briefly cover a variety of AIG techniques and the challenges of using such approaches. I will showcase several automatic item generators that have been developed at the Cambridge Psychometric Centre which are used for psychological and educational testing purposes. I will discuss the empirical methods (exploratory IRT) that are employed to analyze items developed through such means. Finally, I will conclude by suggesting future directions in AIG research such as the involvement of crowd-sourcing and machine learning models.


In 2019, the University of Oxford’s Department of Education celebrates the 100th year since the passing of a statute creating what was known in 1919 as the University Department for the Training of Teachers. To celebrate our centenary a year-long series of activities will be delivered to address some of the department’s top initiatives for 2019, answer some of the big questions facing education today and to reveal the advancements the department has made to the study of and research in the field of education. Join us as we mark our 100th year and discover more about our anniversary here.

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