Journal article

Marginal maximum likelihood estimation for a psychometric model of discontinuous development

RJ Mislevy, M Wilson



Item response theory models posit latent variables to account for regularities in students' performances on test items. Wilson's "Saltus" model extends the ideas of IRT to development that occurs in stages, where expected changes can be discontinuous, show different patterns for different types of items, or even exhibit reversals in probabilities of success on certain tasks. Examples include Piagetian stages of psychological development and Siegler's rule-based learning. This paper derives marginal maximum likelihood (MML) estimation equations for the structural parameters of the Saltus model and suggests a computing approximation based on the EM algorithm. For individual examinees, empirica..

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