Data_Sheet_1_Linking of Rasch-Scaled Tests: Consequences of Limited Item Pools and Model Misfit.docx (108.87 kB)
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Data_Sheet_1_Linking of Rasch-Scaled Tests: Consequences of Limited Item Pools and Model Misfit.docx

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posted on 06.07.2021, 04:04 by Luise Fischer, Theresa Rohm, Claus H. Carstensen, Timo Gnambs

In the context of item response theory (IRT), linking the scales of two measurement points is a prerequisite to examine a change in competence over time. In educational large-scale assessments, non-identical test forms sharing a number of anchor-items are frequently scaled and linked using two− or three-parametric item response models. However, if item pools are limited and/or sample sizes are small to medium, the sparser Rasch model is a suitable alternative regarding the precision of parameter estimation. As the Rasch model implies stricter assumptions about the response process, a violation of these assumptions may manifest as model misfit in form of item discrimination parameters empirically deviating from their fixed value of one. The present simulation study investigated the performance of four IRT linking methods—fixed parameter calibration, mean/mean linking, weighted mean/mean linking, and concurrent calibration—applied to Rasch-scaled data with a small item pool. Moreover, the number of anchor items required in the absence/presence of moderate model misfit was investigated in small to medium sample sizes. Effects on the link outcome were operationalized as bias, relative bias, and root mean square error of the estimated sample mean and variance of the latent variable. In the light of this limited context, concurrent calibration had substantial convergence issues, while the other methods resulted in an overall satisfying and similar parameter recovery—even in the presence of moderate model misfit. Our findings suggest that in case of model misfit, the share of anchor items should exceed 20% as is currently proposed in the literature. Future studies should further investigate the effects of anchor item composition regarding unbalanced model misfit.