Computer-Adaptive Testing – The Future of Testing

Computer-Adaptive Testing

Constant Adjustment

Computerized adaptive testing (CAT) adjusts or adapts to the test taker's individual ability level.


For example, if an examinee answers correctly a test question, they will then be presented with a more difficult question.

Or, if they get that question wrong, they would be presented with a simpler question.


In other words, the next question is only selected after the performance is assessed on the previous question.

Comparing CAT to traditional 'fixed' tests 

Traditional or "linear" tests categorize questions into different levels of complexity. 


For example, if you were testing for English language prophecy, you would use the six levels of the CEFR. You would put more questions or weight your test toward the middle or intermediate levels and put less questions at the extreme ends, i.e. the beginning and advance levels.


Exam made under this traditional method need a lot of questions. One major English proficiency test asks 200 questions in an exam that last 150 minutes!

CAT test cost less 

The testing organization benefits from the time savings as the cost of candidate seat time is substantially reduced. That means that they can also run more tests in the same amount of time.

A Test Bank of Questions

CAT have large item of question banks. 

Typically they will have 30 or 40 times the questions needed to administer one exam.  The GETS Placement Test, for example, has over 2,000 questions in a test that has 52 questions

Large test banks also reduce the risk of test item (question) exposure.

Greater Security.

Large test banks also reduce the risk of test item (question) exposure.


After the first couple of introductory questions, candidates taking the exam at the same time are asked different questions as the exam begins for focus on their individual levels.


It makes cheating that more difficult as it’s impossible to predict which questions will be a given to each individual candidate.

The GETS Higher Exam

The GETS Placement Test

GETS English CAT Exams

Both the GETS Placement and the GETS Higher exams incorporate computer-adaptive methodologies.


GETS Higher is a proficiency level exam of General English. It has four separate tests that assess Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing.

The GETS Placement Test is a test a very affordable test that's both accurate and secure.

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