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date: 20 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses the use of a Bayesian model that incorporates differential item functioning (DIF) in analysing whether cultural differences may affect the performance of students from different countries in the various test items which make up the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test of mathematics ability. The PISA tests in mathematics and other subjects are used to compare the educational attainment of fifteen-year old students in different countries. The article first provides a background on PISA, DIF and item response theory (IRT) before describing a hierarchical three-parameter logistic model for the probability of a correct response on an individual item to determine the extent of DIF remaining in the mathematics test of 2003. The results of Bayesian analysis illustrate the importance of appropriately accounting for all sources of heterogeneity present in educational testing and highlight the advantages of the Bayesian paradigm when applied to large-scale educational assessment.

Keywords: differential item functioning (DIF), cultural differences, Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), mathematics, educational attainment, item response theory (IRT), three-parameter logistic model, Bayesian analysis, educational testing, educational assessment

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