Detection and validation of unscalable item score patterns using Item Response Theory: An illustration with Harter's Self-Perception Profile for Children

R.R. Meijer, I.J.L. Egberink, Wilco H.M. Emons, Klaas Sijtsma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We illustrate the usefulness of person-fit methodology for personality assessment. For this purpose, we use person-fit methods from item response theory. First, we give a nontechnical introduction to existing person-fit statistics. Second, we analyze data from Harter's (1985)Self-Perception Profile for Children in a sample of children ranging from 8 to 12 years of age (N = 611) and argue that for some children, the scale scores should be interpreted with care and caution. Combined information from person-fit indexes and from observation, interviews, and self-concept theory showed that similar score profiles may have a different interpretation. For some children in the sample, item scores did not adequately reflect their trait level. Based on teacher interviews, this was found to be due most likely to a less developed self-concept and/or problems understanding the meaning of the questions. We recommend investigating the scalability of score patterns when using self-report inventories to help the researcher interpret respondents' behavior correctly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-238
JournalJournal of personality assessment
Volume90
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Keywords

  • IR-104212
  • METIS-253194

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