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Psychology and Psychotherapy: Research Study

Understanding Differential Item Functioning and Item bias In Psychological Instruments

  • Open or Close Insu Paek*

    Department of Psychology, Florida State University, USA

    *Corresponding author: Insu Paek, Associate professor Measurement & Statistics Program Educational Psychology & Learning Systems, Florida State University, Tallahassee, USA

Submission: March 09, 2018;Published: May 27, 2018

DOI: 10.31031/PPRS.2018.01.000514

ISSN 2639-0612
Volume1 Issue3


For a psychological test or instrument to function properly as intended, items in the test should measure respondents’ performance fairly across different groups of respondents such as male and female. In psychometric literature, the concept of differential item functioning (DIF) has been introduced to address the differential group performance on an item when the groups are equated at the same level of ability or latent trait status. This article introduces the concept of DIF while making a clear distinction of DIF from item bias and simple group performance difference since the civil rights error of the 1960’s in the United States, inequity has become a critical social issue. The area of educational and psychological testing is no exception. The use of testing as a sorting mechanism [1] has brought equity concerns to many people, specifically the testing enterprise.

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