Item Response Theory

A 2-Day Seminar Taught by Tenko Raykov, Ph.D. 

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To see a sample of the course materials, click here.

Behavioral, social, educational, biomedical, business, and marketing scientists are frequently involved in the evaluation, development and revision of multiple-component measuring instruments, such as tests, scales, inventories, questionnaires, surveys, self-reports, testlets, subscales, etc. Scores obtained from them are often employed in various analyses addressing substantive research questions. The quality of these instruments and resulting individual parameter estimates determine the extent to which the subsequent analyses and modeling efforts can be trusted. To ensure high quality of the measuring instruments, researchers must carefully study their psychometric properties and engage in possibly multiple revisions of them.

This two-day seminar provides a thorough introduction to Item Response Theory (IRT, Item Response Modeling, IRM). It covers many topics at the introductory to intermediate levels, as well as several more advanced topics. Throughout the course, numerous empirical examples are utilized from the educational, behavioral, and social sciences. The seminar draws substantially from (and goes well beyond) Professor Raykov’s recently published book with Professor G. A. Marcoulides: A Course in Item Response Theory and Modeling with StataThe popular packages Stata and Mplus are used in the examples, along with a detailed discussion of the needed command syntax and interpretation of the resulting output. References to the increasingly popular software flexMIRT are made on several occasions as well as to IRTPRO and the package ‘ltm’ of R, and use of them is made in some of the examples. At the end of the seminar, the participants will also be able to conduct software-based analyses using the modeling methods covered in the course.

Participants in this seminar can expect to come away with:

  1. A nuanced understanding of the conceptual foundations and basic mathematical and statistical relationships underlying IRT/IRM.
  2. The ability to understand, interpret and explain the output from Stata and Mplus when used for IRT/IRM, and to evaluate pertinent psychometric properties of given measuring instruments, such as tests, scales, testlets, subscales, inventories, self-reports, surveys or questionnaires.
  3. An appreciation of the advantages of a thorough study of the underlying latent structure of (tentative versions of) multi-component instruments.
  4. Practical tools and strategies for constructing an initial version of a test/instrument of interest and its revision aimed at improving its quality, based on item information and test information functions.
  5. The ability to improve a given measuring instrument, in order to achieve corresponding higher psychometric standards.
  6. The ability to deal with issues arising in the practice of studying tests, scales, and behavioral or mental measuring instruments using IRT/IRM.


To participate in the hands-on exercises, you are strongly encouraged to bring a laptop computer with Stata and Mplus installed (Stata 14 or later; the free Mplus demo version will suffice). However, no previous experience with Stata or Mplus is assumed. A power outlet and wireless access will be available at each seat.

Seminar participants who are not yet ready to purchase Stata could take advantage of StataCorp’s free 30-day evaluation offer or their 30-day software return policy.


To benefit from this seminar, you should have the equivalent of one or more semesters of statistics: a good introductory course with some treatment of probability and random variables as well as regression analysis. Some knowledge of multivariate statistics would also be helpful, but is not essential.


The class will meet from 9 am to 5 pm each day with a 1-hour lunch break at Temple University Center City, 1515 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103. 

Participants receive a bound manual containing detailed lecture notes (with equations and graphics), examples of computer printout, and many other useful features. This book frees participants from the distracting task of note taking.


The fee of $995.00 includes all seminar materials.

Refund Policy

If you cancel your registration at least two weeks before the course is scheduled to begin, you are entitled to a full refund (minus a processing fee of $50). 

Lodging Reservation Instructions

A block of guest rooms has been reserved at the Club Quarters Hotel, 1628 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA at a special rate of $159 per night. This location is about a 5-minute walk to the seminar location. In order to make reservations, call 203-905-2100 during business hours and identify yourself by using group code STSH25 or click here. For guaranteed rate and availability, you must reserve your room no later than Tuesday, September 25, 2018. 

If you make reservations after the cut-off date, ask for the Statistical Horizons room rate (do not use the code) and they will try to accommodate your request.


  1. Resources for the course.
  2. Introduction, brief history, and a short overview of Item Response Theory (IRT)/Item Response Modeling (IRM).
  3. A start-up example.
  4. Popular unidimensional IRT models.
  5. Parameter estimation in item response models.
  6. Item information and test information functions. Test characteristic curves.
  7. Measuring instrument construction, development, and revision using IRT/IRM
  8. Differential item functioning and methods for its examination. 
  9. Polytomous IRT models.
  10. Multidimensional IRT/IRM.
  11. Extensions and limitations of contemporary IRT/IRM applications. 
  12. Conclusion and outlook. 


“Tenko Raykov’s introduction to IRT was clear and engaging. This was precisely the foundation I was hoping to acquire to allow me to learn more advanced IRT methods in the future.”
  Joe Wasserman, West Virginia University

“Professor Raykov is a true expert. He succeeds in explaining difficult concepts in such a way that non-statisticians can grasp the essentials and apply it in their own work.”
  Deon De Bruin, University of Johannesburg

“Learning from an expert saves a lot of time over trying to learn things on one’s own, especially in terms of getting to the important material.”
  Raymond Spiteri, University of Saskatchewan

“Very informative, organized, and efficient training. I’m a Stata user but was also glad to get the chance to know about other statistical software advantages and disadvantages for certain analysis. Will definitely attend Statistical Horizons workshops in other interested topics.”
  Chen Chen, University of Southern Indiana

“An excellent intro into IRT that gradually builds into a more intermediate lesson on its many practical applications. Tenko is great as an instructor. Highly recommend this course as a starting point for anyone wanting to get into IRT.”
  Devin Mills, Rutgers University

“This course in IRT was both challenging and relevant. Dr. Raykov is a wonderful instructor whose approach to engaging the learners in the course helped me to feel confident about asking for clarification about what I did not understand. The content of the course and the helpful guide to using statistical software will be directly relevant to my research.”
  Janette Baird, Brown University