Objective: To compare the measurement efficiency and precision of a multidimensional computer adaptive testing (M-CAT) application to a unidimensional CAT (U-CAT) comparison using item bank data from 2 of the functional skills scales of the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory (PEDI).
Design: Using existing PEDI mobility and self-care item banks, we compared the stability of item calibrations and model fit between unidimensional and multidimensional Rasch models and compared the efficiency and precision of the U-CAT- and M-CAT-simulated assessments to a random draw of items.
Setting: Pediatric rehabilitation hospital and clinics.
Participants: Clinical and normative samples.
Interventions: Not applicable.
Main outcome measures: Not applicable.
Results: The M-CAT had greater levels of precision and efficiency than the separate mobility and self-care U-CAT versions when using a similar number of items for each PEDI subdomain. Equivalent estimation of mobility and self-care scores can be achieved with a 25% to 40% item reduction with the M-CAT compared with the U-CAT.
Conclusions: M-CAT applications appear to have both precision and efficiency advantages compared with separate U-CAT assessments when content subdomains have a high correlation. Practitioners may also realize interpretive advantages of reporting test score information for each subdomain when separate clinical inferences are desired.