Computer-Adaptive Test

CAT is the acronym for Computer-Adaptive Test.

A Computer-Adaptive Test is an assessment that uses computer technology to adapt the difficulty level of the questions presented to the test-taker based on their previous responses. This adaptive process allows a more precise evaluation of the test-taker’s abilities within a shorter testing time.

Here’s how a CAT typically works:

  1. Starting Point: The test begins with a question of moderate difficulty. The difficulty level is chosen based on the test-taker’s age group, grade level, or the test administered.
  2. Adaptive Process: After the initial question, the computer assesses the test-taker’s response. The next question may be slightly more challenging if the response is correct. If the response is incorrect, the next question may be more straightforward. This process continues throughout the test.
  3. Precision: The goal of a CAT is to determine the test-taker’s ability level with a high degree of precision. By adjusting the question difficulty in real-time, the test can narrow down the test-taker’s proficiency level more efficiently than a fixed-format test.
  4. Efficiency: CATs are often shorter in duration compared to fixed-format tests because they can quickly identify the test-taker’s ability level and assess their competence with fewer questions.
  5. Tailored Experience: Each test-taker’s experience is personalized. Two test-takers taking the same CAT may receive entirely different sets of questions based on their individual performance.
  6. Scoring: CATs provide scores based on the test-taker’s performance. The scoring algorithm considers both the number of correct answers and the difficulty of those answers.

Common examples of standardized tests that use a computer-adaptive format include the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) and the GRE (Graduate Record Examination), both of which are commonly used for graduate-level admissions.

The use of CAT technology helps create more efficient and precise assessments, particularly in educational and professional testing contexts. It tailors the test to the individual’s abilities and provides a more accurate representation of their skills or knowledge.

  • Abbreviation: CAT

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