About the Journal

Focus and Scope

JCAT is a peer-reviewed electronic journal designed to advance the science and practice of computerized adaptive testing (CAT). JCAT publishes two types of manuscripts:

  1. Empirical research reports, theoretical papers, and integrative critical reviews on topics directly related to CAT (e.g., item selection algorithms, security algorithms, multistage designs, examinee reactions to CAT, DIF in CAT, item bank development, the psychometrics of CAT) and on important ancillary topics (e.g., innovative item types, assessment engineering, psychometric models, issues surrounding the technology of adaptive testing, validity studies).
  2. Applications and implementations of CAT. These articles include descriptions of specific decisions made for a particular purpose, required by the nature of the adaptive test being developed, including (but not limited to) the nature of the testing population, the type of decisions being made with the information from the test, the size of the available item bank, the changing nature of item styles, approaches to field testing, and complex item selection procedures.

JCAT is the official journal of the International Association for Computerized Adaptive Testing.


Peer Review Process

Each manuscipt submitted to JCAT will first be reviewed by an Associate Editor for relevance to the journal's objectives.  Manuscripts judged to be appropriate for the journal will be scheduled for review by two or three members of the Editorial Board or other experts with particular expertise on the content and/or methods used in the manuscript.  Research manuscripts will be reviewed by other CAT researchers. Applications manuscripts will be reviewed by others with expertise in implementing CATs.

Reviews will be blind if the manuscript is properly prepared for blind review by the submitting author. Manuscripts will be judged on relevance to JCAT's objectives, technical adequacy, contribution to the field, and efffectiveness of communication.  The review process will normally take about seven weeks.

Submission Specifications for JCAT's Applications and Implementations of CAT Section

In order to submit a manuscript to JCAT: Applications and Implementations of CAT (Practical CAT) authors should follow all procedures for submission and the author guidelines on this Web site.

In addition, this section will require the following additional guidelines:

 Each submission should be identified as a submission for the “Applications” section.

  1. The manuscript should include a complete description of the adaptive test setting, including the population of examinees, the types of items used, the nature of the item bank (preferably as a bank information function), the IRT model or models used, the delivery setting, software used to deliver the CATs, and any characterisitics of the test program that led to the decisions that were made.
  2. A description of the rationale for decisions that were made that go beyond the technical literature, or that use an extension of procedures found in the technical literature.
  3. A specific description of the decisions made, and the way that they were implemented.
  4. A description of the expected outcomes, given the decisions, and an empirical evaluation of these decisions, if possible.

Since a particular situation may lead to a variety of different decisions depending on the developers involved, the editors will invite a comment by one or more independent readers that will be published along with the manuscript.

Manuscripts that are selected for publication in this section of JCAT will: 

Be innovative in implementing CAT:  This section of JCAT is designed to allow the research community to learn about the aspects of implementation of CAT that cause the implementers to innovate by moving away from, modifying, or adding to aspects of CAT. 

Be embedded in the relevant literature:  Each manuscript should describe an implementation that is innovative in some way that reflects the nature of the test setting.  It should describe research literature that was used to enable the innovation, and any research that was done comparing possible solutions for the testing circumstances.

Be written for a sophisticated CAT audience:  The emphasis of the journal is adaptive testing, not the subject domain in which the test is based.  Therefore, the manuscript needs to be written without emphasis on subject domain content.  If the subject domain is clearly related to the innovations developed for the test, those elements should be described for a lay audience.

Include competing possibilities:  Most issues encountered in implementing an adaptive test can be addressed in a number of ways.  The manuscript needs to describe competing approaches, and needs to describe why the approach used was selected among these alternatives.

Describe the factors influencing the innovation(s):  Many implementation decisions are only partially due to psychometric considerations.  The manuscript needs to explain the non-psychometric aspects of the innovations and the decisions around them.

Describe the nature of the adaptive test:  To enable an understanding of the innovation(s), the author should include a detailed description of the aspects of the adaptive test, including the item bank (with information or SEM functions) , item styles, scoring approaches, item selection, the examinees, termination approaches, typical test length, etc.

Include details if possible:  Authors should consider publishing details about the innovations and the specific CAT as appendices or supplementary files.  This might include source code, the item parameters, and other information unique to the item bank and the test events.  This would enable other CAT developers to understand the circumstances and extend the work.

Manuscripts that are selected for publication will not:

Mimic the literature:  If your organization has “another testing program going adaptive” we will congratulate you, but unless the approach advances the science of adaptive testing, we will not publish the manuscript.

Reduce rigor:  If the change to published adaptive testing procedures is due to a leap of faith rather than supported by research or strong theoretical underpinnings, the manuscript will not be published.  That does not mean that simulations have to be included in every manuscript, but the extension of the research does have to be described.

Publication Frequency

Articles in JCAT will not be published on a regular schedule.  Rather, each article will be published as soon as it has been prepared for publication.

Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.


International Association for Computerized Adaptive Testing (IACAT)

Journal History

JCAT was authorized by the Board of Directors of the International Association for Computerized Adaptive Testing in 2011 and began publication in 2012.