MAE4120 – Item Response Theory

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

In this course you will learn the core concepts and techniques of item response theory (IRT) which underlie current test design strategies, psychometric analyses, and evaluation of assessment instruments.

The course covers the following five key topics

  1. Item Characteristic Curves
  2. Item & Test Information
  3. Item fit & Person fit
  4. Item Banking: Scaling and Linking
  5. Multidimensional IRT

Learning outcome


  • demonstrate an understanding of the basic principles and models within Item Response Theory (IRT)
  • understand how IRT is used in education and psychology to conduct individual-level and population-level inference
  • recognize the differences between classical and IRT test design approaches


  • conduct IRT analyses to evaluate assessments and construct scales
  • fit IRT models to test data using the open source statistical software environment R


  • outline a research program that can support the development of an assessment within an IRT framework
  • evaluate the appropriateness of assessments for their intended purpose by utilizing IRT techniques and tools


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Recommended previous knowledge

Prior knowledge at or equivalent to MAE4000 Data Science.


This course combines lectures, seminars and computer labs with data analysis tasks in statistical software environments.

Obligatory course components:

  • computer lab participation and completion of computer lab exercises


The exam consists of a 4 hour individual written examination covering all course material and topics.

You need to have successfully completed the obligatory course components before being allowed to sit the exam. If you do not fulfill these requirements, you must submit a written request to apply for an additional assignment prior to sitting the exam. The application must document stated reasons for absence beyond your control.

Previous exams

Digital examination

The written examination is conducted in the digital examination system Inspera. You will need to familiarize yourself with the digital examination arrangements in Inspera.

Read more about written examinations using Inspera.

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


In accordance with the UiO quality assurance system, the course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Periodic evaluation of MAE4120 spring 2019

Nettskjema questions spring 2019

Facts about this course






Taught for the first time spring 2019, and then every spring after that.


Exams offered for the first time spring 2019, and then every spring after that

Teaching language