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A multilevel item response model for item position effects and individual persistence

Author(s): Johannes Hartig | Janine Buchholz

Journal: Psychological Test and Assessment Modeling
ISSN 2190-0493

Volume: 54;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 418;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: item response theory | item position effects

The paper presents a multilevel item response model for item position effects. It includes individual differences regarding the position effect to which we refer to as the persistence of the test-takers. The model is applied to published data from the PISA 2006 science assessment. We analyzed responses to 103 science test items from N = 64.251 students from 10 countries selected to cover a wide range of national performance levels. All effects of interest were analyzed separately for each country. A significant negative effect of item position on performance was found in all countries, which is more prominent in countries with a lower national performance level. The individual differences in persistence were relatively small in all countries, but more pronounced in countries with lower performance levels. Students’ performance level is practically uncorrelated with persistence in high performing countries, while it is negatively correlated within low performing countries.
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