skip to main content skip to footer

Estimating True-Score Distributions for Mental Tests (Method 16)

Lees, Diana M.; Lord, Frederic M.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Office of Naval Research, Estimation (Mathematics), Mathematical Models, Scores, Statistical Distributions, True Scores


This report covers part of a continuing project to devise and try out methods for estimating examinees' true scores from their observed scores on a mental test. An alternative method of using the sample observed-score distribution to estimate the population true-score distribution is developed, leading to a different type of integral equation. Practical procedures for solving this integral equation are presented. The method has been tried out on 60 empirical distributions of observed test scores to determine how well the model fits the data. An extension of the model has been used to predict certain bivariate distributions of observed scores from the corresponding marginal distributions. The effectiveness of the model in making such predictions is reported for 26 different sets of data. The model is judged to be satisfactory for practical applications to many sets of data. It seems likely, however, that the estimation method can be improved on.

Read More