Date of Award
Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership
First Reader/Committee Chair
Research assessing Differential Item Functioning (DIF) in mathematics has mainly dealt with gender and content. The mathematics assessments used for those studies primarily focused on around Multiple Choice (MC) and Constructed Response (CR) item types. DIF research studies with English Learners (EL) focused on language complexity and accommodations. The mathematics items used in these studies also consisted of MC and CR items. The primary objective of this cross-sectional non-experimental quantitative study was to determine if DIF occurred between EL and non-EL students and at a more granular level, if DIF existed among students with different levels of English language proficiency as determined by the ELPAC on item types other than MC and CR.
In this study, the responses to ALEKS chapter tests for 8th grade students were analyzed. WinSteps software was used to transform the tests raw data into Rasch measures. DIF Pairwise-Rasch-Welch analysis was used to examine the responses of 463 students to determine if DIF was present between EL and non-EL students. The results showed that three Equation/Numeric items had DIF between EL and non-EL students. A t-test was used to examine the responses of 142 EL students to determine if DIF was present among students with different ELPAC levels. The analysis showed that DIF existed among students with different ELPAC levels on two Graphing (G) items and two Equation/Numeric (EQ) items. No commonality was found as to why DIF existed between EL and non-EL students on the three EQ items. For ELPAC students, Graphing items were easier for ELPAC1 students while the Equation/Numeric item with language complexity was more favorable for ELPAC4 students than the other three EL students. It is recommended that teachers be made aware of potential DIF across test items and that they practice the routine usage of testing accommodations for EL students on assessments that are appropriate to their ELPAC level thus reducing the potential for DIF.
Nguyen, Michael, "DIFFERENTIAL ITEM FUNCTIONING (DIF) OF ENGLISH LEARNERS ON CONSTRUCTED RESPONSE (CR) AND MULTIPLE CHOICE (MC) ITEMS" (2020). Electronic Theses, Projects, and Dissertations. 998.