Publications & Resources

Detection of Item Bias Using Analyses of Response Patterns

Dec 1981

David L. McArthur

Item bias, when present in a multiple-choice test, can be detected by appropriate analyses of the persons × items scoring matrix. Five related schemes for the statistical analysis of bias were applied to a widely used, primary skills multiple choice test which was administered in either its English- or Spanish-language version at each of the two levels, to 1259 students in bilingual education programs. The results indicate that from one-fifth to one-third of the items in the tests show strong evidence of bias, corroborated by a separate analysis of linguistic and cultural sources of bias for both the biased items and those items with no statistical findings of bias.

McArthur, D. L. (1981). Detection of item bias using analyses of response patterns (CSE Report 163). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, Center for the Study of Evaluation.