Investigating Linguistic Sources of Differential Item Functioning Using Expert Think-Aloud Protocols in Science Achievement Tests

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Roth, Michael
Oliveri, Maria Elena
Sandilands, Debra Dallie
Lyons-Thomas, Juliette
Ercikan, Kadriye
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2013
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Even if national and international assessments are designed to be comparable, subsequent psychometric analyses often reveal differential item functioning (DIF). Central to achieving comparability is to examine the presence of DIF, and if DIF is found, to investigate its sources to ensure differentially functioning items that do not lead to bias. In this study, sources of DIF were examined using think-aloud protocols. The think-aloud protocols of expert reviewers were conducted for comparing the English and French versions of 40 items previously identified as DIF (N 젲0) and non-DIF (N 젲0). Three highly trained and experienced experts in verifying and accepting/rejecting multi-lingual versions of curriculum and testing materials for government purposes participated in this study. Although there is a considerable amount of agreement in the identification of differentially functioning items, experts do not consistently identify and distinguish DIF and non-DIF items. Our analyses of the think-aloud protocols identified particular linguistic, general pedagogical, content-related, and cognitive factors related to sources of DIF. Implications are provided for the process of arriving at the identification of DIF, prior to the actual administration of tests at national and international levels.

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International Journal of Science Education

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35

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4

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© 2013 Routledge, Taylor & Francis. This is an electronic version of an article published in International Journal of Science Education, Vol. 35(4), 2013, pp. 546-576. International Journal of Science Education is available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com with the open URL of your article.

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Curriculum and pedagogy

Science, technology and engineering curriculum and pedagogy

Specialist studies in education

Sociology

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