Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

DIF statistical inference without knowing anchoring items

Chen, Yunxiao ORCID: 0000-0002-7215-2324, Li, Chengcheng, Ouyang, Jing and Xu, Gongjun (2023) DIF statistical inference without knowing anchoring items. Psychometrika, 88 (4). 1097 - 1122. ISSN 0033-3123

[img] Text (Chen_DIF-statistical-inference--published) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (920kB)

Identification Number: 10.1007/s11336-023-09930-9


Establishing the invariance property of an instrument (e.g., a questionnaire or test) is a key step for establishing its measurement validity. Measurement invariance is typically assessed by differential item functioning (DIF) analysis, i.e., detecting DIF items whose response distribution depends not only on the latent trait measured by the instrument but also on the group membership. DIF analysis is confounded by the group difference in the latent trait distributions. Many DIF analyses require knowing several anchor items that are DIF-free in order to draw inferences on whether each of the rest is a DIF item, where the anchor items are used to identify the latent trait distributions. When no prior information on anchor items is available, or some anchor items are misspecified, item purification methods and regularized estimation methods can be used. The former iteratively purifies the anchor set by a stepwise model selection procedure, and the latter selects the DIF-free items by a LASSO-type regularization approach. Unfortunately, unlike the methods based on a correctly specified anchor set, these methods are not guaranteed to provide valid statistical inference (e.g., confidence intervals and p-values). In this paper, we propose a new method for DIF analysis under a multiple indicators and multiple causes (MIMIC) model for DIF. This method adopts a minimal L 1 norm condition for identifying the latent trait distributions. Without requiring prior knowledge about an anchor set, it can accurately estimate the DIF effects of individual items and further draw valid statistical inferences for quantifying the uncertainty. Specifically, the inference results allow us to control the type-I error for DIF detection, which may not be possible with item purification and regularized estimation methods. We conduct simulation studies to evaluate the performance of the proposed method and compare it with the anchor-set-based likelihood ratio test approach and the LASSO approach. The proposed method is applied to analysing the three personality scales of the Eysenck personality questionnaire-revised (EPQ-R).

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s)
Divisions: Statistics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2023 15:24
Last Modified: 19 May 2024 04:33

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics