A computer adaptive testing approach for assessing physical function in children and adolescents

Health and Disability Research Institute, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA.
Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology (Impact Factor: 3.51). 03/2005; 47(2):113-20. DOI: 10.1017/S0012162205000204
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The purpose of this article is to demonstrate: (1) the accuracy and (2) the reduction in amount of time and effort in assessing physical functioning (self-care and mobility domains) of children and adolescents using computer-adaptive testing (CAT). A CAT algorithm selects questions directly tailored to the child's ability level, based on previous responses. Using a CAT algorithm, a simulation study was used to determine the number of items necessary to approximate the score of a full-length assessment. We built simulated CAT (5-, 10-, 15-, and 20-item versions) for self-care and mobility domains and tested their accuracy in a normative sample (n=373; 190 males, 183 females; mean age 6y 11mo [SD 4y 2m], range 4mo to 14y 11mo) and a sample of children and adolescents with Pompe disease (n=26; 21 males, 5 females; mean age 6y 1mo [SD 3y 10mo], range 5mo to 14y 10mo). Results indicated that comparable score estimates (based on computer simulations) to the full-length tests can be achieved in a 20-item CAT version for all age ranges and for normative and clinical samples. No more than 13 to 16% of the items in the full-length tests were needed for any one administration. These results support further consideration of using CAT programs for accurate and efficient clinical assessments of physical functioning.

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    • "This allows for fewer items to be administered, while gaining precise information regarding an individual's placement along a continuum of ability or health status. We have recently demonstrated the feasibility of building CAT platforms for a successful clinical trial for children with Lysosomal storage disease [20], for monitoring children enrolled in inpatient and outpatient physical rehabilitation programs [21], and for evaluating children at the point-ofcare in a busy orthopedic spine practice [22]. CAT has also been successfully applied using the FIM items showing that CAT can be used to reduce data collection with negligible reduction in precision [23]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background/Objective. Outcomes-based data, whether used clinically or for research, are difficult to collect in the pediatric spinal cord injury (SCI) population due to a lack of appropriate assessment measures. The purpose of this paper is twofold: to describe the process by which two item pools were developed to evaluate activity performance and participation among children with SCI and to introduce the resultant items specific to pediatric SCI. Methods. The process of item development, including construct development, review of related assessment tools, chart review, item writing and refinement using focus groups, cognitive interviews, and further refinement, was used to create the items pools for activity and participation for children and adolescents with SCI. Results. A total of 347 items were written for the activity performance construct and 61 items were written for the participation construct. Several domains were established within each construct and items were written for both child and parent respondents. Conclusion. The process of detailed item development is the first step in the process of developing an outcomes instrument for children and adolescents with SCI to assess activity performance and participation. The items are representative of pediatric SCI because they address areas specific to children and adolescents with SCI such as wheeled mobility, upper extremity function with adaptive equipment, role performance, and socialization. After testing these items in calibration studies, we will determine if these items can be developed into effective computer-adaptive testing applications.
    International Journal of Pediatrics 10/2009; 2009:854904. DOI:10.1155/2009/854904
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    • "The number of cases used in the current study is lower than the average by CAT standards. Previous published work on CAT has been based on sample sizes ranging from less than one hundred to several thousand cases [9,11,14,18,66]. Some of this variability may be due to the use of different IRT models as the basis of this work. "
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    ABSTRACT: Recent approaches to outcome measurement involving Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT) offer an approach for measuring disability in low back pain (LBP) in a way that can reduce the burden upon patient and professional. The aim of this study was to explore the potential of CAT in LBP for measuring disability as defined in the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) which includes impairments, activity limitation, and participation restriction. 266 patients with low back pain answered questions from a range of widely used questionnaires. An exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was used to identify disability dimensions which were then subjected to Rasch analysis. Reliability was tested by internal consistency and person separation index (PSI). Discriminant validity of disability levels were evaluated by Spearman correlation coefficient (r), intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC(2,1)] and the Bland-Altman approach. A CAT was developed for each dimension, and the results checked against simulated and real applications from a further 133 patients. Factor analytic techniques identified two dimensions named "body functions" and "activity-participation". After deletion of some items for failure to fit the Rasch model, the remaining items were mostly free of Differential Item Functioning (DIF) for age and gender. Reliability exceeded 0.90 for both dimensions. The disability levels generated using all items and those obtained from the real CAT application were highly correlated (i.e. > 0.97 for both dimensions). On average, 19 and 14 items were needed to estimate the precise disability levels using the initial CAT for the first and second dimension. However, a marginal increase in the standard error of the estimate across successive iterations substantially reduced the number of items required to make an estimate. Using a combination approach of EFA and Rasch analysis this study has shown that it is possible to calibrate items onto a single metric in a way that can be used to provide the basis of a CAT application. Thus there is an opportunity to obtain a wide variety of information to evaluate the biopsychosocial model in its more complex forms, without necessarily increasing the burden of information collection for patients.
    BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 01/2009; 9(1):166. DOI:10.1186/1471-2474-9-166 · 1.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We developed normative profiles of physical functioning (mobility and self-care) in infancy up through 14 years of age with an expanded version of the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory. Mobility and self-care reference curves were based on the original Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory standardization data (n = 412) and data from an additional cross-sectional, convenience sample (n = 373) via web-based survey, telephone or in-person interviews of parents. This new sample, which included children up through 14 years-of-age, was stratified for race, age, and sex, but was primarily limited geographically to the Northeast region of the United States. Goodness of fit of male, female, and combined sex (male and female) reference curves was examined. The mobility and self-care reference curves produced efficient and well-fitting estimates of conventional percentiles (3rd, 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, 97th). Differences between males' and females' reference curves were negligible. This study highlights the use of these reference curves for determining the functional impact of Pompe disease, a lysosomal storage disorder that affects skeletal and cardiac muscle, restricting normal expression of mobility and self-care activities. This physical functioning instrument could also be used to evaluate the impact of muscle weakness in other neuromuscular disorders.
    Pediatric Neurology 12/2004; 31(5):333-41. DOI:10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2004.05.002 · 1.70 Impact Factor
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