An Application of Item Response Time: The Effort-Moderated IRT Model

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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The validity of inferences based on achievement test scores is dependent on the amount of effort that examinees put forth while taking the test. With low-stakes tests, for which this problem is particularly prevalent, there is a consequent need for psychometric models that can take into account differing levels of examinee effort. This article introduces the effort-moderated IRT model, which incorporates item response time into proficiency estimation and item parameter estimation. In two studies of the effort-moderated model when rapid guessing (i.e., reflecting low examinee effort) was present, one based on real data and the other on simulated data, the effort-moderated model performed better than the standard 3PL model. Specifically, it was found that the effort-moderated model (a) showed better model fit, (b) yielded more accurate item parameter estimates, (c) more accurately estimated test information, and (d) yielded proficiency estimates with higher convergent validity.