ITEMS Corner: ITEMS Portal Development Update

By Megan Welsh posted 06-28-2019 21:02


ITEMS.pngARupp.pngAndré A. Rupp, ETS

Dear colleagues,

Today I would like to share some news about (1) current modules, (2) curriculum planning, and (3) ongoing volunteer opportunities. One question that we have gotten a few times recently is whether the modules are indeed accessible for free to non-members and members of NCME alike. The answer to this question is a resounding ‘yes’ and we encourage everyone to share the portal link. Registration in the portal overall takes only a minute as it requires name and email only. Once registered for the portal, one simply needs to hit a separate ‘Register’ button associated with each module once and access is immediately granted – this extra step is done so as to associate individual learners with individual modules in this particular learning management system. Furthermore, to make sharing of relevant modules a bit easier we just included social network buttons within the content section of each module so learners can spread the word about modules even more easily

As always, I hope that you enjoy the general direction that ITEMS is taking. As with any new digital effort, however, we continue to learn along the way about what works best for various issues so please do not hesitate to share your feedback and ideas with us via email ( or a quick phone call (609-252-8545).

Enjoy your learning experience and please spread the word about ITEMS!

Module Updates

I am pleased to announce that we have two new digital module in the portal since the last update. As always, these modules contain audio-narrated slides, embedded instructional videos, quiz questions with diagnostic feedback, a set of curated resources, and a glossary, all delivered within a web-delivered digital shell that is accessible across multiple platforms (e.g., laptops, desktops, tablets, phones). You can learn more about both modules via the two-page overviews in the Summer 2019 issue of Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice (EM:IP).

The first digital module was co-authored by Drs. Wenchao Ma and Jimmy de la Torre and focuses on the basic principles of diagnostic measurement and their implementation via the G-DINA framework and associated R package. The G-DINA framework represents one of several unified modeling approaches in this area and complements nicely the previously released module by Drs. Natacha Carragher, Jonathan Templin, and colleagues, which focused on foundational concepts as well as the LCDM framework as implemented in Mplus and SAS. Together, these two modules provide a relative comprehensive first introduction to the area of diagnostic measurement from different modeling perspectives but with many principles and best practices in common.

The second new digital module was co-authored by Dr. Allison Boykin and Aaron Myers and focuses on unified model-data fit evaluation from a Bayesian perspective, which is known as posterior predictive model checking (PPMC). The authors provide a conceptual introduction to this topic and then illustrate the key ideas and computational steps using straightforward examples from simple linear regression and unidimensional item response theory analysis. This module is the first in a series on Bayesian Psychometrics, which we intend to grow over the next few years.


Curriculum Planning

We are continually working with various author teams on creating additional digital modules and currently have about 35+ modules in development over the next several years. We are planning to release at least one new digital module around the print date for every issue of EM:IP although I would personally love to see us increase this to about one module per month (or more) in the future. Moreover, for the digital modules we are of course not bound by the print date of the journal per se and will release new modules and module updates as they are ready.

We are currently developing modules in four broad content areas:

  • Educational Measurement
  • Assessment Development
  • Interdisciplinary Frontiers
  • Classroom Assessment

The area of Educational Measurement includes topics such as equating and scaling, item response theory, classical test theory, differential functioning, computer-adaptive testing, and model-fit evaluation. The area of Assessment Development includes topics such as principled assessment design, validation and fairness, professional standards, standard-setting, and score reporting. The area of Interdisciplinary Frontiers includes topics such as diagnostic measurement, certification and licensure testing, automated scoring, computational cognitive modeling, and learning analytics. Finally, the area of Classroom Assessment includes topic such as utilizing interactive performance tasks, classroom assessment standards, diverse assessment information, and teacher observation protocols.


Thus, if you know of a respected colleague who is a great teacher or would like to develop an ITEMS module yourself please do not hesitate to reach out – we are always looking for additional module topics in educational measurement. ITEMS modules are designed to be gentle to key topics in the above areas that can function like two-hour “lunchtime workshops” to supplement other professional development activities. Developing these modules can also serve as a meaningful professional development expertise for more junior colleagues who would like to gain digitally-centered educational design experience.


Ongoing Volunteer Opportunities

We have been fortunate so far to have several volunteers who have been working with us on certain aspects of the ITEMS portal. However, there is a lot of work to do and we are continuously looking for volunteers to donate some of their time to ITEMS. Activities can include acting as a module reviewer / beta tester, working with content developers on improving the learning experience for their module or developing quiz questions, creating Storyline wireframes for modules from PPT decks, editing Word documents, identifying web-based supplementary resources, and so on. In addition, we are still looking for someone to help with the development of social learning strategies. All of these activities would be done as part of a broader interdisciplinary team.


Neither of these volunteer engagements are full-time appointments. Instead, they should be viewed as supplementary experiences where you donate some of your valuable time to NCME as a not-for-profit organization. All of these activities are great experiences if you are interested in pursuing an academic or related pathway with a teaching component and we would do our best to match your experience, interests, and skill sets with our needs. If you are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities for ITEMS please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly via email ( or a quick phone call (609-252-8545). Alternatively, information is also available in the ITEMS portal. 


This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Rupp, A. A. (2019). ITEMS Portal Development Update. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, 38(2), 112-113. It has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.