[Rasch] Use of e in the Rasch model

Thomas Salzberger thomas.salzberger at gmail.com
Tue Sep 6 08:01:31 EST 2011


An interesting question, I have never really thought about.

Basically what you need is an s-shaped curve to describe/model the
relationship between the latent variable and the expected manifest response
(probability). Originally IRT used the cumulative normal distribution. For
convenience, the standard normal was used (it has to have some standard
deviation, so why not make it one). Later the logistic function replaced the
normal (logit rather than probit) as it is much easier to work with while
being virtually identical with the standard normal provided you include the
scaling constant D (roughly 1.7), as it is still done in many (all?) IRT

In Rasch modeling we do not use D, although we could. The point is that a
multiplicative constant is just a scaling factor.

But now to your question. It seems to me that a base other than e
simply means that the measures are expressed in a different unit.

If you choose a different base, let's call it f (with f > 1), then you get
the same probabilities that you get with e as the base but with a scaling
constant of a=ln(f).

Best wishes,

2011/9/5 Kenji Yamazaki <yk0271 at yahoo.co.jp>

> Hi all:****
>  ****
> I have a question about the formula of the Rasch or IRT model.  Why is e
> (=2.718) used in the formula?  Why is not it 10?  Because e is close to 3,
> why isn’t 3 used for the formula instead of e?  I have been having this
> question for a long time, but all the Rasch and IRT books I have read treat as
> given the use of e (=2.718) in the formula.  If anyone gives me an answer,
> it will be very appreciated.
> Kenji
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Thomas.Salzberger at gmail.com
Thomas.Salzberger at wu.ac.at
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