Cognitive diagnosis has emerged as a new generation of testing theory for educational assessment after the item response theory (IRT). One distinct feature of cognitive diagnostic models (CDMs) is that they assume the latent trait to be discrete instead of continuous as in IRT. From this perspective, cognitive diagnosis bears a close resemblance to searching problems in computer science and, similarly, item selection problem in cognitive diagnostic computerized adaptive testing (CD-CAT) can be considered as a dynamic searching problem. Previously, item selection algorithms in CD-CAT were developed from information indices in information science and attempted to achieve a balance among several objectives by assigning different weights. As a result, they suffered from low efficiency from a tug-of-war competition among multiple goals in item selection and, at the same time, put an undue responsibility of assigning the weights for these goals by trial and error on users. Based on the searching problem perspective on CD-CAT, this article adapts the binary searching algorithm, one of the most well-known searching algorithms in searching problems, to item selection in CD-CAT. The two new methods, the stratified dynamic binary searching (SDBS) algorithm for fixed-length CD-CAT and the dynamic binary searching (DBS) algorithm for variable-length CD-CAT, can achieve multiple goals without any of the aforementioned issues. The simulation studies indicate their performances are comparable or superior to the previous methods.
- binary searching
- restrictive progressive (RP) method
- restrictive threshold (RT) method
- searching algorithms