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A Hierarchical Framework for Modeling Speed and Accuracy on Test Items



Current modeling of response times on test items has been strongly influenced by the paradigm of experimental reaction-time research in psychology. For instance, some of the models have a parameter structure that was chosen to represent a speed-accuracy tradeoff, while others equate speed directly with response time. Also, several response-time models seem to be unclear as to the level of parametrization they represent. A hierarchical framework for modeling speed and accuracy on test items is presented as an alternative to these models. The framework allows a “plug-and-play approach” with alternative choices of models for the response and response-time distributions as well as the distributions of their parameters. Bayesian treatment of the framework with Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) computation facilitates the approach. Use of the framework is illustrated for the choice of a normal-ogive response model, a lognormal model for the response times, and multivariate normal models for their parameters with Gibbs sampling from the joint posterior distribution.

Key words

hierarchical modeling item-response theory Gibbs sampler Markov chain Monte Carlo estimation speed-accuracy tradeoff response times 

Copyright information

© The Psychometric Society 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Research Methodology, Measurement, and Data AnalysisUniversity of TwenteAE EnschedeThe Netherlands

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