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Analysis of Differential Item Functioning in the NAEP History Assessment NAEP

Zwick, Rebecca J.; Ercikan, Kadriye
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Achievement Tests, Item Analysis, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), United States History


The Mantel-Haenszel approach for investigating differential item functioning (DIF) was applied to U.S. history items that were administered as part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). On some items, Black, Hispanic, and female examinees performed more poorly than other students, conditional on number-right score. It was hypothesized that this resulted in part from the fact that ethnic and gender groups differed in their exposure to the material included in the assessment. Supplementary Mantel-Haenszel analyses were undertaken in which the number of historical periods studied, as well as score, was used as a conditioning variable. Contrary to expectation, the additional conditioning did not lead to a reduction in the number of DIF items. Both methodological and substantive explanations for this unexpected result were explored. (31pp.)

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