ERIC Number: ED311076
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989
Reference Count: N/A
Examining the Relationship between Differential Item Functioning and Item Difficulty. College Board Report No. 89-5.
Kulick, Edward; Hu, P. Gillian
The relationship of differential item functioning (DIF) to item difficulty on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) was examined, based on data from nine recent administrations of the test from June 1986 through December 1987. This pool of information includes item statistics on 765 verbal and 540 mathematical items computed for subgroups of White, Hispanic, Black, Asian American, male, and female examinees. In general, item difficulty is related to DIF. The nature of the relationship appears to be independent of the choice of DIF indices (either the Mantel-Haenszel or the standardization approach). The relationship was not dependent on test form. However, the relationship was dependent on the particular group comparison and on both the test sections and the item type being analyzed. The relationship was strong for each of the racial and ethnic group contrasts (in which Black, Hispanic, and Asian American examinees were compared in turn with White examinees), but was weak for the female and male examinee contrast. The relationship also appeared stronger on the verbal than on the mathematical sections. The relationship is such that more difficult items tended to exhibit positive DIF (the DIF favored the focal group over the White reference group). On the verbal sections, only the reading comprehension item type failed to exhibit a strong relationship. An index of the relative difference in omit rates between groups matched in ability correlated very highly (negatively) with DIF. Although DIF and this latter index are mathematically dependent measures, it was proposed that the latter index may be partly responsible for the relationship between DIF and item difficulty. Hispanic and Black focal groups tended to omit differentially less than did the White reference groups; for Asian Americans the opposite held. Eight figures and 17 data tables are provided. (TJH)
Descriptors: Asian Americans, Black Students, College Bound Students, College Entrance Examinations, Comparative Testing, Difficulty Level, Ethnicity, High Schools, Higher Education, Hispanic Americans, Mathematics Tests, Racial Differences, Reading Tests, Sex Differences, Test Bias, Test Items, Verbal Tests, White Students
College Board Publications, Box 886, New York, NY 10101-0886 ($7.00).
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ.; College Entrance Examination Board, New York, NY.
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: SAT (College Admission Test)