Improving the prediction of differential item functioning: a comparison of the use of an effect size for logistic regression DIF and Mantel-Haenszel DIF methods



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Texas A&M University


Psychometricians and test developers use DIF analysis to determine if there is possible bias in a given test item. This study examines the conditions under which two predominant methods for determining differential item function compare with each other in item bias detection using an effect size statistic as the basis for comparison. The main focus of the present research was to test whether or not incorporating an effect size for LR DIF will more accurately detect DIF and to compare the utility of an effect size index across MH DIF and LR DIF methods. A simulation study was used to compare the accuracy of MH DIF and LR DIF methods using a p value or supplemented with an effect size. Effect sizes were found to increase the accuracy of DIF and the possibility of the detection of DIF across varying ability distributions, population distributions, and sample size combinations. Varying ability distributions and sample size combinations affected the detection of DIF, while population distributions did not seem to affect the detection of DIF.