We may operate from a place with quite a nice climate, plenty of sunny beaches and all that, but from time to time we take a break and do a bit of actual work.
Here are some of the things we've been up to most recently.
•Data from FIMS now up and ready
Results from the First International Mathematics Study are now available in a Lertap 5-ready workbook. They include student responses from two countries, Japan and Australia. Gender information is also included. Best of all, the actual test items are available. This will be useful in measurement classes. Travel to FIMland with a click here.
•Added two riveting new documents
Results from an international study of numeracy among junior high-school students are discussed in this document with an eye to demonstrating how to process mixed cognitive item types with Lertap 5. Constructed-response items were mixed with multiple-choice items in this test.
A review of selected free (for students) item analysis programs is presented in this document. The programs include jMetrik, Lertap 5, and SAS University. Mention is also made of Iteman, Xcalibre, Bilog-MG, and a promising new offering in R, "TAM".
•Updated "Time trials" (<--click here)
The year 2017 has seen a batch of new Intel processors come to the fore. This updated account of Lertap 5 runtimes includes results obtained when running Lertap 5 with Excel 2016 on a laptop with one of the new "Kaby Lake" i7 processors. Impressive.
•Doubled the data-record limit in the Mini version
The Mini version is the default installation; it's not necessary for users to purchase a license to run Mini.
This version was formerly limited to just 50 data records -- that's now gone up to 100. As before, there is no limit on the number of items that may be processed. The installer for the Mini version (free) is available here.
•Reduced the price of a Student license to $0.00
Yes, true! From 1 April 2017 students may now get a one-year license for free. Find out how by visiting the e-store.
•Made improvements to the Pearson VUE Exam Developer macro
The number of Lertap 5 users who also make use of Pearson VUE's Exam Developer platform is not quite approaching infinity yet, but the in-built macro continues to make it truly easy to "port" Lertap's item and test statistics over to Exam Developer, especially after a couple of recent modifications and minor enhancements. Read about it.
•Added support for omega reliability estimation
There's now a special macro in Lertap 5 to support those interested in deriving McDonald's estimates of test and scale reliability and internal consistency. Read about it.
•An empirical comparison of two reliability measures
Coefficient alpha, or "Cronbach's alpha", has been to go-to measure of test reliability for eons. Some authors have suggested that another reliability index, omega, is better. Research findings comparing alpha and omega, and related references to current literature, are now available here.
•A new importer for scanner csv files
OMR scanners, such as Scantrons, will readily output results in "csv" format. A new whiz-bang macro makes it quite simple to convert csv files so that they're Lertap ready. It's called ImportCSV.
•Another look at Lertap's cheat checker
RSA, response similarity analysis, is the procedure used in Lertap 5 to investigate the possibility of cheating on multiple-choice tests. It's been available since the year 2005. A new paper compares RSA to two other programs, "SCheck" and "Iteman 4".
This work prompted some enhancements to RSA; read about them here.
Two new workbooks have been added to the Sample Datasets website exemplifying the application of RSA in a practical university setting.
•Added a new sample dataset with items having multiple responses
Multiple-response items are multiple-choice questions where it's necessary for students to pick out all the correct responses to an item, and there will be more than one. For example, to get item "I1" correct, students must select both options B and D. This is a type of the "multiple-mark" item format discussed in Haladyna & Rodriguez (2013, p.121).
Click here to be transported to the "Zmed" sample dataset.
•New output (<--click here)
This is quite a substantial change; a lot of work has gone into it: now Lertap 5 will produce a report for a cognitive subtest which combines quantile plots of response trace lines with data taken from the "brief" and "full" statistical summaries, resulting in an "all-in-one" summary of item performance having both graphs and tables.
Fix yourself up with a cup of a favorite brew, click on the link above, sit back, and take it in -- and note: you'll be treated to an extensive tour of new features and corresponding options. We suggest a quick look of all of the document's sections, followed by a closer look at the areas which most attract you. (In other words, some parts of the document are boring and tedious, but they're followed by good stuff.)
This might be an appropriate spot to remind you of the "production mode" capability. With production mode on, you can set things up so that the new report will be automatic output.
•IRT with EIRT (<--click here)
"EIRT" originated in 2006 as a counterpart to "RIRT", a package of item response theory routines for use in the R environment, put together by French-speaking colleagues in France and Canada. The E in EIRT stands for Excel -- this is a package designed for use with Excel, and it goes very well with Lertap 5, making it a reasonably straightforward process to have IRT parameter and theta estimates written as another worksheet within a user's Lertap 5 workbook. Very handy; give it a burl. It works tres bien.
•IRT with SAS (<--click here)
The SAS University Edition is a powerful data analysis system, and it's free. A few years ago, 2014, SAS' IRT routines moved from beta testing to production, and they're potent indeed. Now there's support for SAS IRT in Lertap 5 -- take it for a spin.
A link to the complete "updates summary" page is here.