There are two competing desires for improving psychometric screening tests: decreasing length in order to decrease respondent burden and interviewer time on the one hand, and increasing measurement precision in order to limit the number of individuals who are referred for further evaluation (i.e., to limit false positive screens) on the other hand. Previously there had been no framework that enabled these competing desires to be unified into a single strategy that could increase precision without necessarily increasing instrument length. This study used a novel combination of receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curves with item response theory (IRT) and provides a new technique for improving psychometric screening tests. A brief example is given from screening tests for dementia.
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