Date of Award

12-2009

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Mundschenk, Nancy

Second Advisor

Ewing, Norma

Abstract

Students with learning disabilities are increasingly included in state accountability systems. The purpose of this study was to investigate disability-based differential item functioning (DIF) on a statewide high-stakes mathematics test administered in the Spring of 2003 to all students seeking a high-school diploma in one state in the eastern part of the U.S. Overall performance scores for all students in grade 10 taking the test for the first time were examined. Item performance scores for students with specific learning disabilities who took the test with and without state mandated accommodations were compared with that for students without disabilities after matching on total test score. It was hypothesized that more DIF items will favor students who received packages of accommodations. The standardization method for DIF analysis by Doran and Holland yielded the presence of items in two directions. This study revealed that more DIF items favored students without disabilities, and with substantially high indexes that could be problematic for understanding the meaning of scores for students with specific learning disabilities.

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