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By GCMC Public Affairs

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (June 28, 2017) – A dozen participants from 11 countries participated in an Item Response Theory (IRT) Workshop at the Marshall Center’s Partner Language Training Center Europe (PLTCE) June 27 to 30.

art news 1 3 jul 17

A dozen participants from 11 countries participated in an Item Response Theory (IRT) Workshop at the Marshall Center’s Partner Language Training Center Europe (PLTCE) June 27 to 30. (Marshall Center poster by the Visual Information Division)

The workshop’s objective was to introduce experienced STANAG 6001 National Testing Team members from NATO and partner nations to Item Response Theory.

This theory is a model for the design, analysis and scoring of tests, questionnaires, and similar instruments measuring abilities, attitudes or other variables.

The Standardization Agreement among NATO partners for English language proficiency testing is STANAG 6001.  This document outlines the alliance standards for reading, writing, listening and speaking English. 

Given the high-stakes nature of the STANAG 6001 examination, the Bureau for International Language Coordination – NATO’s advisory body for language training and testing – recommends that nations move toward incorporating the Item Response Theory into the validation of national STANAG 6001 tests.

This is to improve the quality of the examinations and reliability of the scores across nations, said Roxanne Harrison, from PLTCE’s English Language Programs Department.

She added this workshop introduced IRT with practical applications that can be used with classical statistics methods and current test validation procedures.

In addition to lectures, a portion of the workshop was dedicated to practical work with IRT software and datasets from “live” tests.

Dr. Troy Cox, from Brigham Young University Provo, Utah, developed and conducted the workshop. Mary Jo Biase, from Yale University in New Haven, Conn., was co-facilitator.

Through its English Language Programs Department, PLTCE is an officially-recognized NATO Partnership Training and Education Center that offers workshops and seminars for English teaching and testing professionals from NATO and partner nations.

(Roxanne Harrison from PLTCE contributed to this article)