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Test taker characteristics and performance on a cloze test : an investigation using DIF methodology He, Ling

Abstract

This quantitative study aims to investigate the influences of test taker characteristics across two different broad language groups, Asian and Non-Asian, on cloze test performance. This study used differential item functioning (DIF) methodology. The specific purpose is to provide empirical evidence for factors that can bias items on cloze tests due to (a) examinees' familiarity with test format, and (b) their academic discipline. Data in this study are collected from 216 English as a second language (ESL) students (ages 17-56) from Carleton University. Each examinee completes two cloze tests in the same session. However, the focus of the current study is Test 1 whereas Test 2 is used in creating a composite score which would serve as the matching variable in the DIF analyses. The method used for DIF analysis is logistic regression approach with multiple matching variables and multiple grouping variables. Empirical results by logistic regression method showed that only familiarity with cloze test format was differently related to DIF. This result was also supported with some theoretical DIF hypotheses founded on prior knowledge pertaining to cognitive processes that could related to differential performance of test items.

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