Detecting differential item functioning with confirmatory factor analysis and item response theory: Toward a unified strategy

Stephen Stark, Oleksandr S. Chernyshenko, Fritz Drasgow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In this article, the authors developed a common strategy for identifying differential item functioning (DIF) items that can be implemented in both the mean and covariance structures method (MACS) and item response theory (IRT). They proposed examining the loadings (discrimination) and the intercept (location) parameters simultaneously using the likelihood ratio test with a free-baseline model and Bonferroni corrected critical p values. They compared the relative efficacy of this approach with alternative implementations for various types and amounts of DIF, sample sizes, numbers of response categories, and amounts of impact (latent mean differences). Results indicated that the proposed strategy was considerably more effective than an alternative approach involving a constrained-baseline model. Both MACS and IRT performed similarly well in the majority of experimental conditions. As expected, MACS performed slightly worse in dichotomous conditions but better than IRT in polytomous cases where sample sizes were small. Also, contrary to popular belief, MACS performed well in conditions where DIF was simulated on item thresholds (item means), and its accuracy was not affected by impact. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1292-1306
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Volume91
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2006

Keywords

  • CFA
  • Confirmatory factor analysis
  • DIF
  • Differential item functioning
  • IRT
  • Item response theory
  • MACS
  • Mean and covariance structures
  • Measurement equivalence
  • Sample size
  • Thresholds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

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