Creative Commons License

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

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Graduate Psychology


Christine DeMars


When developing tests, measurement experts may prefer simple-structure items because they measure one trait, which simplifies scoring and scoring interpretation. Conversely, complex-structure items may be preferred to reflect the complexity of multidimensional constructs. The current study sought to address the gap in the literature of multi-stage testing by conducting a simulation study with a hypothetical two-stage adaptive test with a purpose of comparing the performance of simple and complex structure items. The findings suggest that with a longer test (60 items), the two types of items performed similarly with respect to bias and RMSE of the trait estimates. For the shorter test (36 items), some of the outcome metrics favored using complex-structure items over simple-structure items. However, the small advantages of using complex-structure items may not be worthwhile, especially considering the potentially more difficult process of writing complex-structure items.



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