Development of an abbreviated form of the Penn Line Orientation Test using large samples and computerized adaptive test simulation

Psychol Assess. 2015 Sep;27(3):955-64. doi: 10.1037/pas0000102. Epub 2015 Mar 30.


Visuospatial processing is a commonly assessed neurocognitive domain with deficits linked to dysfunction in right posterior regions of the brain. With the growth of large-scale clinical research studies, there is an increased need for efficient and scalable assessments of neurocognition, including visuospatial processing. The purpose of the current study was to use a novel method that combines item response theory (IRT) and computerized adaptive testing (CAT) approaches to create an abbreviated form of the computerized Penn Line Orientation Test (PLOT). The 24-item PLOT was administered to 8,498 youths (aged 8-21 years) as part of the Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort study and, by Web-based data collection, in an independent sample of 4,593 adults from Great Britain as part of a TV documentary. IRT-based CAT simulations were used to select the best PLOT items for an abbreviated form by performing separate simulations in each group and choosing only items that were selected as useful (i.e., high item discrimination and in the appropriate difficulty range) in at least 1 of the simulations. Fifteen items were chosen for the final, short form of the PLOT, indicating substantial agreement among the models in how they evaluated each item's usefulness. Moreover, this abbreviated version performed comparably to the full version in tests of sensitivity to age and sex effects. This abbreviated version of the PLOT cuts administration time by 50% without detectable loss of information, which points to its feasibility for large-scale clinical and genomic studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Orientation, Spatial*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Spatial Processing*
  • United Kingdom
  • Young Adult