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Differential Item Functioning on the Braille Edition of SAT-M DIF SAT

Bennett, Randy Elliot; Rock, Donald A.; Novatkoski, Inge
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Braille, College Entrance Examinations, Differential Item Functioning (DIF), Item Analysis, Mathematics Tests, SAT


This study attempted to pinpoint the causes of differential item difficulty for blind students taking the braille edition of the Scholastic Aptitude Test's Mathematical section (SAT-M). The study method involved reviewing the literature to identify factors that might cause differential item functioning for these examinees, forming item categories based on these factors, identifying categories that functioned differentially, and assessing the functioning of the items composing deviant categories to determine if the differential effect was pervasive. Results showed an association between selected item categories and differential functioning, particularly for items that included figures in the stimulus, items for which spatial estimation was helpful in eliminating at least two of the options, and items which presented diagrams that were small or medium in size. The precise meaning of this association, however, was unclear because some items from the suspected categories functioned normally, factors other than the hypothesized ones might have caused the observed aberrant item behavior, and the differential difficulty might be related to real population differences. (33pp.)

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