Investigating Local Dependence with Conditional Covariance Functions

Jeffrey A Douglas, Hae Rim Kim, Brian Habing, Furong Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The local dependence of item pairs is investigated via a conditional covariance function estimation procedure. The conditioning variable used in the procedure is obtained by a monotonic transformation of total score on the remaining items. Intuitively, the conditioning variable corresponds to the unidimensional latent ability that is best measured by the test. The conditional covariance functions are estimated using kernel smoothing, and a standardization to adjust for the confounding effect of item difficulty is introduced. The particular standardization chosen is an adaptation of Yule's coefficient of colligation. Several models of local dependence are discussed to explain special situations, such as speededness and latent space multidimensionality, in which the assumptions of unidimensionality and local independence are violated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-151
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Coefficient of colligation
  • Conditional covariance
  • Kernel smoothing
  • Local independence
  • Multidimensionality
  • Nuisance dimensions
  • Speededness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Education

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