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Confirmatory Analysis of Test Structure Using Multidimensional Item Response Theory IRT

McKinley, Robert L.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Factor Analysis, Item Response Theory (IRT), Multidimensional Item Response Theory (MIRT), Psychometrics, Test Theory


The purpose of this research was to develop and evaluate a confirmatory approach to assessing test structure using multidimensional item response theory (MIRT). The approach investigated involves adding to the exponent of the MIRT model an item structure matrix that allows the user to specify the ability dimensions measured by an item. Various combinations of item structures were fit to two sets of simulation data with known true structures, and the results were evaluated using a likelihood ration chi-square statistic and two information-based model selection criteria. The results of these analyses support the use of the confirmatory MIRT approach, since it was found that the procedures could recover the true item structures. It was also found that adding an additional ability dimension that forces together items that ought not to be together noticeably deteriorates the quality of the solution. On the other hand, imposing structures different from, but not inconsistent with, the true structures does not necessarily yield worse fit. Finally, in terms of model fit statistics, the consistent Akaike information criterion performed better than the simple Akaike information criterion, while the likelihood ratio chi-square was clearly inadequate. (43pp.)

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