Title page for ETD etd-93098-11430

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Gibson, Shanan Gwaltney IV
Author's Email Address shanan@vt.edu
URN etd-93098-11430
Title Differential Item Functioning on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery
Degree Master of Science
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Foti, Roseanne J.
Hauenstein, Neil M. A.
Harvey, Robert J. Committee Chair
  • IRT
  • differential item functioning
Date of Defense 1998-10-14
Availability unrestricted
Utilizing Item Response Theory (IRT) methodologies, the Armed Services

Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) was examined for differential item

functioning (DIF) on the basis of crossed gender and ethnicity variables.

Both the Mantel-Haenszel procedure and an IRT area-based technique were

utilized to assess the degree of uniform and non-uniform DIF in a sample

of ASVAB takers. The analysis was performed such that each subgroup of

interest functioned as the focal group to be compared to the male

reference group. This type of DIF analysis allowed for comparisons

within ethnic group, within gender group, as well as crossed ethnic/gender

group. The groups analyzed were: White, Black, and Hispanic males, and

White and Black females. It was hypothesized that DIF would be found,

at the scale level, on several of the ASVAB sub-tests as a result of

unintended latent trait demands of items. In particular, those tests

comprised of items requiring specialized jargon, visuospatial ability,

or advanced English vocabulary are anticipated to show bias toward white

males and/or white females.

Findings were mixed. At the item level, DIF fluctuated greatly.

Numerous instances of DIF favoring the reference as well as the focal

group were found. At the scale level, inconsistencies existed across

the forms and versions. Tests varied in their tendency to be biased

against the focal group of interest and at times, performed contrary

to expectations.

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