Cultural Imperatives in Differential Item Functioning (DIF) in Mathematics

Sylvester Sele Ebisine


DIF is said to occur if different subgroups, who have equal standing on the construct the test is designed to measure, display different probabilities of passing an item (in test of typical performance). DIF as a condition in which given examinees of equal ability in the trait being measured, the probability of answering an item correctly is related to group membership. There are evidences of DIF among testees from different subgroups (cultural group, gender and socioeconomic background). Therefore, any test used to measure students’ ability must be fair among different cultures. Because of the different cultural setting tests may not be functioning in the same way in all cultures, which is also called that test may be equivalent or tests may not be fair among different culture. This paper therefore discusses the concepts of DIF, culture and the theoretical perspective of cultural imperative in DIF. Furthermore, the paper examined the sources of DIF in multicultural assessment and how to deal with inequivalent items. Finally, it attempts the use of culturally responsive instructional technique to reduce students’ differential performance in mathematics.

DOI: 10.5901/ajis.2013.v2n10p85

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Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies ISSN 2281 3993(Print) ISSN 2281-4612(Online)

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