Examining Item Functioning On The Jamaican Grade Four Literacy Test
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Type of WorkText
ProgramDoctor of Philosophy
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SubjectsEducational tests and measurements
The purpose of this study was to investigate if the presence of differential item functioning (DIF) on the Reading Comprehension and the Word Recognition components of the Grade Four Literacy Test (GFLT) was contributing to the measured underachievement of boys on the test in Jamaica for the 2011 and 2012 cohorts. The study also investigated the presence of DIF across school type and educational regions. The sample consisted of 2,399 participants per year, with 45.9 % males and 54.1 % females for both 2011 and 2012. The mean age of the participants was 10.12 years in 2011 and 10.32 years in 2012. The data in the study was fitted using the Rasch dichotomous model to determine if the GFLT was a unidimensional construct. The Mantel-Haenszel statistical procedure was used to detect DIF. A statistically significant DIF contrast of ≥ .60 logits was utilized to detect moderate to large DIF. The findings indicate that there were 61 instances where the GFLT exhibited DIF over the 2-year administrations for both Reading Comprehension and Word Recognition, 37 of these were related to Word Recognition. There were a total of 8 instances where the tests exhibited DIF as a function of gender (7 of these favored females). Despite being a unidimensional construct, there were several misfitting items on the GFLT; these were not excluded from the analysis. These items signal the potential need to further investigate the latent trait being measured. Ultimately, the findings in this study may be utilized by policymakers and educators to improve future administration of the GFLT in order to ensure that the instrument does not exhibit any potential DIF.