Rasch Applications, Part 1: How to Construct a Rasch Scale

Rasch Applications, Part 1: How to Construct a Rasch Scale

taught by William Fisher, Jr.

Aim of Course:

This online course, "Rasch Applications, Part 1: How to Construct a Rasch Scale" is a practicum.  You will learn how to conceptually model a measureable construct and will write items for a test, assessment, or survey likely to produce data fitting a Rasch model. You will gather data with that tool, you will evaluate the data’s conformity to your model, and you will study how the tool might be improved and applied. Theory, concepts concerning reliability or validity, and mathematical models are taken up only to the extent needed to construct that scale.  We start at the beginning of the instrument design process, and stick with it until we have a tool in principle ready to be put in the hands of the end user.

(1)  In this course you will design and administer a survey or test to at least 30 people of your choosing. You will need to find subjects willing to do this.  Weeks 1 and 2 will offer details and guidance on the process, but you should have a good idea where you will find your subjects before the course starts.

(2)  When the course starts, you will also be asked to make one of the following statements:

"I will gather and analyze data only for the purposes of this course. I have no intention of publishing my results or of presenting my results at a formal meeting of a professional society. There will be no need for IRB human subjects review of my research plan."  or...

"I will gather and analyze data in this course with the intention of making a contribution of new knowledge. I intend to report my research results at formal meetings of professional societies and/or to seek publication of my results. I have already obtained IRB human subjects review approval of my research plan, or such approval is pending and will be in hand before my research commences."

Course Program:

WEEK 1: What to ask

  • Ethical considerations
    • Is study just for class?
    • Or is IRB approval needed?
  • Specifying your construct
    • What/why
    • Measurability
  • Create items
    • How many items?
    • How many responses?

WEEK 2: Who to ask

  • The population
  • Your sample
  • An "ideal" subject
    • At the low end of what you're measuring
    • At the high end
  • Where to obtain your subjects (you should have an idea before beginning the course!)
  • Finalize your instrument

BREAK - 2 WEEKS:    Administer your survey/test to the people you have selected

WEEK 3: Analyzing the data

  • Specify the model
  • Data file layout
  • Control variables
  • Data quality evaluation
    • Construct validity
    • Fit statistics/Principal Components Analysis of Standardized Residuals
    • Reliability coefficients
    • Rating scale optimization

WEEK 4: Revisiting your test/survey instrument

  • Fill gaps in item hierarchy, or extend it higher/lower
  • Rewrite problematic items
  • Comparability with other instruments
  • Standard setting applications
  • Diagnostic applications for formative assessment



The homework in this course consists of short answer questions to test concepts and guided data analysis problems.

In addition to assigned readings, this course also has supplemental readings available online, and an end of course data analysis project.

Rasch Applications, Part 1: How to Construct a Rasch Scale

Who Should Take This Course:
Social science researchers who use surveys or questionnaires in their work, education assessment analysts and managers.
Organization of the Course:

This course takes place online at the Institute for 6 weeks. During each course week, you participate at times of your own choosing - there are no set times when you must be online. Course participants will be given access to a private discussion board. In class discussions led by the instructor, you can post questions, seek clarification, and interact with your fellow students and the instructor.

At the beginning of each week, you receive the relevant material, in addition to answers to exercises from the previous session. During the week, you are expected to go over the course materials, work through exercises, and submit answers. Discussion among participants is encouraged. The instructor will provide answers and comments, and at the end of the week, you will receive individual feedback on your homework answers.

Time Requirement:
About 15 hours per week, at times of  your choosing.

Options for Credit and Recognition:
Students come to the Institute for a variety of reasons. As you begin the course, you will be asked to specify your category:
  1. No credit - You may be interested only in learning the material presented, and not be concerned with grades or a record of completion.
  2. Certificate - You may be enrolled in PASS (Programs in Analytics and Statistical Studies) that requires demonstration of proficiency in the subject, in which case your work will be assessed for a grade.
  3. CEUs and/or proof of completion - You may require a "Record of Course Completion," along with professional development credit in the form of Continuing Education Units (CEU's).  For those successfully completing the course,  CEU's and a record of course completion will be issued by The Institute, upon request.
  4. Digital Badge - Courses evaluated by the American Council on Education have a digital badge available for successful completion of the course.  
  5. Other options - Statistics.com Specializations, INFORMS CAP recognition, and academic (college) credit are available for some Statistics.com courses
Course Text:
All necessary study material is provided online by the instructor. Helpful additional study material can be found in the book Applying the Rasch Model, 2nd edition (Bond & Fox, 2007, Taylor & Francis/Lawrence Erlbaum Associates).

You will need to be able to do analysis in Rasch software of your choosing. You may also need to be able to import your Rasch measurement results into statistical software to analyze or graph measures, errors, or fit statistics by groups. Free and paid Rasch software is listed at www.rasch.org/software.htm



To be scheduled.

Rasch Applications, Part 1: How to Construct a Rasch Scale


To be scheduled.

Course Fee: $589

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