Rasch Computer Program Review

This section lists some of the Rasch measurement computer programs that are available for mainframe and personal computers.

Mainframe Programs

BICAL is the oldest, widely distributed Rasch calibration program. There are about 400 copies of BICAL in service. The program provides a variety of calibration information for dichotomously scored data. Since BICAL does not use a missing data estimation algorithm, missing responses are treated as incorrect. The program can recalibrate with misfitting persons removed and can exclude very low and very high scoring persons from the calibration process. BICAL is one of the few programs that provides between person-score-group item fit statistics. The program is available from MESA Press for $200. FORTRAN source code for IBM and CDC computers, as well as a users' manual are included.

MSCALE and MSTEPS are Rasch programs which can be used to analyze tests, questionnaires, self-concept scales, morale inventories, ratings of competence or performance, and graded scores on achievement tests. These programs estimate parameters for and test the fit of data to the Dichotomous, Rating Scale, and Partial Credit models. Two estimation algorithms are used -- the normal approximation procedure, PROX, and the corrected unconditional maximum likelihood procedure, JMLE (UCON).

MSCALE is for dichotomies and rating scales. MSTEPS is for dichotomies and partial credit scoring. Both programs provide a single difficulty for each item and a single measure for each person. The difference is that MSCALE estimates a single set of step difficulties on the entire set of items as is intended in the usual rating scale design, while MSTEPS estimates a separate set of steps for each item as is implied in partial credit scoring.

In addition to estimates of difficulty and ability and tests of item and person fit, output includes a variety of graphical displays. The programs also contain editing features which edit out perfect person and item scores, adjust for missing responses, and recode input data into successive integers.

MSCALE and MSTEPS are provided in FORTRAN 77. Compilations are available for most micro, mini, and mainframe computers. The program, manual, and sample data are available for either program for $400 or for both programs for $600 from MESA Press.

MFORMS, a version of MSCALE developed to expedite one-step (concurrent) item banking was described in detail in RMT 1:2.

Personal Computer Programs

DICOT is a computer program for the analysis of classroom tests. The program is available in both Microsoft FORTRAN and GW-BASIC. The output is designed to be interpretable by classroom teachers. Person ability and item difficulty estimates are automatically transformed from logits to a metric like the ones with which teachers are already familiar. More details are available in Educational and Psychological Measurement, 1984, p. 145-150. The program is available for a nominal fee from Geoff Masters, University of Melbourne.

IPARM is an item and person analysis program designed to provide a full range of information about the fit of items and persons to the measurement model. The information is very detailed and usually provides insight into the causes of misfit. This program requires calibrated item difficulties and is designed to supplement calibration programs like BICAL or MSCALE. It is dimensioned for 100 items and an unlimited number of persons, but these dimensions can be altered. The program is written in BASIC and will run on 64K IBM compatible personal computers. The program, documentation, and dichotomous and rating scale examples are available free from Richard M. Smith.

MSCALE and MSTEPS are also available for IBM and Apple microcomputers. (See description under mainframe programs.)

PC-CREDIT is a Microsoft FORTRAN program for implementing partial credit analysis. The program can be run on IBM compatible personal computers. PC-CREDIT uses the unconditional maximum likelihood procedure to estimate person and item parameters for the partial credit model. The program includes several different person and item fit statistics and graphical displays capable of assisting in the diagnosis of misfit. For details of the availability of this program contact Mark Wilson or Geoff Masters.

Richard M. Smith

Smith R.M. (1988) Computer program review. Rasch Measurement Transactions 2:1 p. 15.

Computer program review. Smith R.M. … Rasch Measurement Transactions, 1988, 2:1 p. 15.

Rasch Publications
Rasch Measurement Transactions (free, online) Rasch Measurement research papers (free, online) Probabilistic Models for Some Intelligence and Attainment Tests, Georg Rasch Applying the Rasch Model 3rd. Ed., Bond & Fox Best Test Design, Wright & Stone
Rating Scale Analysis, Wright & Masters Introduction to Rasch Measurement, E. Smith & R. Smith Introduction to Many-Facet Rasch Measurement, Thomas Eckes Invariant Measurement: Using Rasch Models in the Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences, George Engelhard, Jr. Statistical Analyses for Language Testers, Rita Green
Rasch Models: Foundations, Recent Developments, and Applications, Fischer & Molenaar Journal of Applied Measurement Rasch models for measurement, David Andrich Constructing Measures, Mark Wilson Rasch Analysis in the Human Sciences, Boone, Stave, Yale
in Spanish: Análisis de Rasch para todos, Agustín Tristán Mediciones, Posicionamientos y Diagnósticos Competitivos, Juan Ramón Oreja Rodríguez

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