Examining the performance of the Metropolis-Hastings Robbins-Monro algorithm in the estimation of multilevel multidimensional IRT models

Document Type


Creative Commons License

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

Publication Date



The purpose of this study was to examine the performance of the Metropolis–Hastings Robbins–Monro (MH-RM) algorithm in the estimation of multilevel multidimensional item response theory (ML-MIRT) models. The accuracy and efficiency of MH-RM in recovering item parameters, latent variances and covariances, as well as ability estimates within and between clusters (e.g., schools) were investigated in a simulation study, varying the number of dimensions, the intraclass correlation coefficient, the number of clusters, and cluster size, for a total of 24 conditions. Overall, MH-RM performed well in recovering the item, person, and group level parameters of the model. Ratios of the empirical to analytical standard errors indicated that the analytical standard errors reported in flexMIRT were somewhat overestimated for the cluster-level ability estimates, a little too large for the person-level ability estimates, and essentially accurate for the other parameters. Limitations of the study, implications for educational measurement practice, and directions for future research are offered.