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date: 19 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter presents an introductory overview of concepts that underscore the general framework of item response theory. “Item response theory” is a broad umbrella term used to describe a family of mathematical measurement models that consider observed test scores to be a function of latent, unobservable constructs. Most musical constructs cannot be directly measured and are therefore unobservable. Musical constructs can therefore only be inferred based on secondary, observable behaviors. Item response theory uses observable behaviors as probabilistic distributions of responses as a logistic function of person and item parameters in order to define latent constructs. This chapter describes philosophical, theoretical, and applied perspectives of item response theory in the context of measuring musical behaviors.

Keywords: data analysis, item response theory, latent construct, measurement, testing

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