Len pointed out that the desire to tailor testing toward individuals was really enabled by the proliferation of IRT methodology, as well as the continued improvements in technology. Early research was provided by think tanks like ETS with funding coming from the Office of Naval Research.
Len provided the following timeline as a backbone to anchor CAT development to:
1980-1984: Computerized college placement testsWhen asked about the challenges encountered on the road to operational CAT exams, Dr. Swanson responded that quality item pools, infrastructure, and exam security were the big issues of the day. Funny, isn’t it? Almost fifty years later the same issues are still roadblocks to fully realizing the potential of both computer-based, as well as computer adaptive testing.
1987-1988: Computerized mastery testing (NCARB)
1990-1993: Praxis exam operational
1990-1993: Graduate Records Exam (GRE) CAT Version
1993-1994: NCLEX (Nurses' Certification and Licensing Exam) CAT Operational.
1994-2008: Statewide CATs implemented both district and state level