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.

Ph.d. candidates can apply for the Ph.d. version of the course: UV9293


Recommended previous knowledge

Having completed MAE4000 Data Science or equivalent.


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

Obligatory course components:

  • completion of two written assignments
  • participation in the two seminars


The exam consists of an individual written assignment covering the course contents.

The assignment should be between 2500 and 3500 words long, not including bibliography and appendices.

Students are to present their chosen topics for the assignment in one of the obligatory seminars. Verbal feedback will be given.


Previous exams

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit your assignment.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

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

Periodic evaluation of MAE4120 spring 2021, with questions

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language