Utilizing Response Times in Computerized Classification Testing

Haskell Sie*, Matthew D. Finkelman, Barth Riley, Niels Smits

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


A well-known approach in computerized mastery testing is to combine the Sequential Probability Ratio Test (SPRT) stopping rule with item selection to maximize Fisher information at the mastery threshold. This article proposes a new approach in which a time limit is defined for the test and examinees’ response times are considered in both item selection and test termination. Item selection is performed by maximizing Fisher information per time unit, rather than Fisher information itself. The test is terminated once the SPRT makes a classification decision, the time limit is exceeded, or there is no remaining item that has a high enough probability of being answered before the time limit. In a simulation study, the new procedure showed a substantial reduction in average testing time while slightly improving classification accuracy compared with the original method. In addition, the new procedure reduced the percentage of examinees who exceeded the time limit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-405
Number of pages17
JournalApplied Psychological Measurement
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 4 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Computerized Classification Testing
  • Sequential Probability Ratio Test
  • item response theory
  • lognormal model
  • response time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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