Georg Rasch's BPP

The Rasch model for dichotomous items emerged from Georg Rasch's investigation of the BPP test, described in Rasch (Probabilistic Models for some Intelligence and Attainment Tests, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980) Chapters 5, 6 and Appendix, p. 184. Recently, T. W. Teasdale and David R. Owen, provided further information about the BPP in Intelligence, 13, 255-262 (1989):

"At age 18 Danish males become liable for conscription and are obliged to appear before a draft board which assesses their suitability for military service. The assessment procedure includes a group intelligence tests, Borge Prien's Prove [=Test] (BPP) which has been used unaltered since its introduction in 1957. [In fact, BPP was introduced in November 1953 (Rasch 1980 p. xiv). Bo Prien is Rasch's son-in-law] The test is little known outside of Denmark [except among student's of Rasch's great book] and it therefore seems appropriate to present some detail here.

"The BPP comprises four subtests. In a Letter Matrices subtest [Rasch's BPP-L] (19 items, 15 minutes), the examinee is presented with a series of 3x3 cell matrices which contain series of letters in all but the bottom right cell. The object is to write in that cell the letter series conforming to the pattern indicated by the other eight cells. As may be inferred, the subtest was modelled on Raven's Progressive Matrices but with the important difference that the subtest here is not of the multiple-choice type. [Rasch found BPP-L to fit his new model p. 96, 100-102, 125]

"In a Verbal Analogies subtest [Rasch's BPP-V] (24 items, 5 minutes), the examinee is required to complete analogies of the form "A is to B as C is to ?". It is not a vocabulary test, and no highly infrequent words are involved. The task requires the comprehension of conceptual relationships. Unlike the Miller Analogies Test, which it superficially resembles, this subtest offers a very large number of multiple-choice responses. For items 1 through 12 of the subtest, the response word must be selected from a numbered list of 100 alphabetically sorted words, and the word's number, not the word itself, is the required response. This is an attempt to avoid scoring unreliability which might arise from illegible handwriting. For items 13 through 24 of the subtest, a second list of 100 potential response words is presented. [Rasch found speed of answering to be a second factor in BPP-V p. 100, 103-105, 125]

"In a Number Sequences subtest [Rasch's BPP-N] (17 items, 15 minutes), the examinee is required to produce the fifth number following a sequence of four. All of the items can be solved by use of simple arithmetic operations. [Rasch found BPP-N to fit his model p. 62-71, 78-93, 100, 106-107, 125]

"In a Geometric Figures subtest [Rasch's BPP-F] (18 items, 10 minutes), the examinee is presented with five simple geometric shapes identified with the letters "A" through "E". Each item of the subtest consists of a gestalt which can be constructed from the simple shapes. The task is to indicated by the corresponding letters, which of the simple shapes are used to form the gestalt. [Rasch again found speed of answering to be a second factor in BPP-F p. 93-100, 125]

"Within each subtest, the items are ordered by an empirically determined difficulty [Rasch observed only minor disordering p. 95] and each subtest is preceded by an example item and a practice item. As can be seen, none of the subtests are "multiple choice" in the conventional a sense. The possibility of guessing the correct answer is thus minimal.

"The time limits for each subtest are announced in advance by an invigilator, of whom there are two present, and examinees are instructed to omit items they are unable to solve. Testing is conducted in groups of about 20 to 40. [Rasch's sample was 1094 recruits p. 62] The test score is the total number of items, out of 78, answered correctly, and there is no deduction for incorrect answers. We have elsewhere reported a correlation of .77 between the BPP total score and the full scale score on a Danish translation of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale."

Georg Rasch's BPP, B Wright … Rasch Measurement Transactions, 1991, 5:3 p. 169

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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