BULATS Computer Adaptive Test

The BULATS Reading and Listening Test is a Computer Adaptive Test which uses adaptive testing techniques to make the test-taking process easier and more accurate than typical paper exams. It does this by fundamentally changing the nature of the testing process used in most classrooms throughout the world.

Unlike paper exams, which are the same from beginning to end for all test takers regardless of their particular ability (and are notorious for steadily increasing their difficult level without respect to student performance), the BULATS CAT exam works to pinpoint (and eventually ask questions only at) a student’s level using adaptive testing techniques.

It does this by using the answers provided to earlier questions on the test as a way of selecting future questions within the same section. In practice, this means that starting with the second question, the BULATS CAT selects and presents each subsequent question on the basis of the answers to the question (or stream of questions) immediately before it. If, for example, the test taker gets the first question right, the second question will be harder but if he or she gets it wrong, the second question will be easier and so on throughout the exam.

In this way, the BULATS CAT hones in on the applicant’s true level by monitoring the difficulty of the questions and eventually choosing only those questions which match the candidate’s skill set. The test continues until accuracy threshold has been reached and the appropriate level has been determined. Thus, while all test-takers make get the same first question, no two testing scenarios are completely identical and while all test takers may take the same number of questions, those who answer more questions at a higher level correctly will earn higher scores than those who answer the same number of lower level questions. A demonstration of BULATS CAT can be viewed here


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