Rasch Item-bank Open Source Project


The purpose of the Rasch Item-bank Project is to create an objective and highly reliable numeracy assessment tool, which is free and available to children all over the world.

There is an abundance of commercial education software on the web and there are many free games or game-like education applications, but there are few serious measurement tools. The idea of this project is to create a self-assessment tool enabling children in sub-Saharan Africa or the mountains of Peru to be measured on the same scale as children from central London or Manhattan.


The project is inspired by the chapters in Probabilistic Models (Rasch 1960), which deal with reading rates (Chapters 3 and 9). The software applies the arguments in those chapters to use the scoring rates directly to estimate item difficulty and student ability.

Scoring rates are defined as the reciprocal of the time taken (in fractions of a minute) to complete each item. Timing item responses invisibly on each item averts the theoretical and practical concerns expressed in the literature (Ebel, 1979, Meijer, 1993, Halkitis, Jones & Pradhan, 1996) over tightly timed pencil and paper tests.

Research by the project owner (Hippisley & Douglas, 1998) indicates that scoring rates on number skill tests make a highly reliable metric. Scoring rates on individual items correlate well with each other, with the mean rates on whole sessions, and with mean rates on other sessions by the same student.


The method of the software is:

· To serve up test items from a bank of items stored on a file server;

· To record a dichotomous item score on each item;

· To record the scoring rate (reciprocal of the time taken) on each item;

· To adjust the difficulty of items served in response to the ability implied by the results on items previously served;

· To record a unique session parameter for each student test session;

· To return the items scores, scoring rates and session parameters to the server.

By default, for the purpose of Rasch analysis the session replaces the student. This enables anonymous data to be collected and analyzed, without contravening the data

protection and privacy laws, which apply in many countries. In cases where permission has been granted to record data against students, actual students can be used in the analysis.

Roles of the project owner

· To create source code for a demonstration web based application (done);

· To make the demonstration application available on a public server (done);

· To analyze data from the application and refine item grouping.

· To raise awareness of the project and the application.

Possible roles of future participants

· Programmers may create source code for the generation of additional test items;

· Researchers may use the published application to carry out addition research, perhaps further researching the reliability of the application, or correlating results with other instruments;

· Teachers may simply use the application for their own diagnostic purposes.


· Project URL: http://java.net/projects/rasch-itembank/

· Demonstration application URL: http://softway.org/PP120101/AMJApp.php.

Project owner
Jonathan Hippisley, PhD
Email: jhipp\at/softway.org


Ebel, R.L. (1979) Essentials of Educational Measurement Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

Halkitis, P.N., Jones, P.J., Pradhan, J. (1996) Estimating Testing Time: The Effects of Item Characteristics on Response Latency ED397119

Hippisley, J., Douglas, G. (1998) The reliability and validity of an interactive arithmetic test British Journal of Education Technology, 29(4), 303-320

Meijer, J. (1993) Learning potential, personality characteristics and test performance Learning Potential Assessment: Theoretical methodological and practical issues (Hamers JHM, Sijtsma K, Ruijssenaars JM Eds) Swets and Zeitlinger, Amsterdam, NL 341-362

Rasch, G. (1960) Probabilistic models for some intelligence and attainment tests University of Chicago Press, Chicago

Rasch Item-bank Open Source Project. Jonathan Hippisley … Rasch Measurement Transactions, 2012, 26:2 p. 1370

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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Oct. 4 - Nov. 8, 2024, Fri.-Fri. On-line workshop: Rasch Measurement - Core Topics (E. Smith, Winsteps), www.statistics.com
Jan. 17 - Feb. 21, 2025, Fri.-Fri. On-line workshop: Rasch Measurement - Core Topics (E. Smith, Winsteps), www.statistics.com
May 16 - June 20, 2025, Fri.-Fri. On-line workshop: Rasch Measurement - Core Topics (E. Smith, Winsteps), www.statistics.com
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Oct. 3 - Nov. 7, 2025, Fri.-Fri. On-line workshop: Rasch Measurement - Core Topics (E. Smith, Winsteps), www.statistics.com


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