Title: Cultural validity of the group reading assessment and diagnostic evaluation level K phonological awareness scale for indigenous Australians

Authors: Jennifer R. Wolgemuth; Helen Harper; Paul R. Hernandez; Janet Helmer

Addresses: Department of Educational Measurement and Research, College of Education, University of South Florida, 4202 Fowler Ave., EDU 366, Tampa, FL 33620, USA ' Menzies School of Health Research, P.O. Box 41096, Casuarina NT 0811, Australia ' School of Education, Colorado State University, 1588 Campus Delivery, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA ' Menzies School of Health Research, P.O. Box 41096, Casuarina NT 0811, Australia

Abstract: In this study, we investigate the cultural validity of the group reading assessment and diagnostic evaluation, level K (grade K) phonological awareness scale for Australian indigenous students. Results revealed measurement variance between indigenous (n = 224) and non-indigenous students (n = 286). Nine out of the 30 phonological awareness items exhibited uniform differential item function (DIF), indicating these items were more difficult for the indigenous students, controlling for ability. Additionally, results revealed three out of the 30 items exhibited non-uniform DIF indicating that the items exhibited a different relationship to phonological awareness in the indigenous and non-indigenous groups. A distractor analysis compared differences in distractor item choice to explain indigenous students' difficulty with the items. Through a linguistic and cultural lens, our analysis does not provide sufficient evidence to determine why particular items were more difficult than others for indigenous students. The phonologies of indigenous students' home languages did not appear to explain the different performance of indigenous and non-indigenous students.

Keywords: phonological awareness assessment; indigenous Australians; cultural validity; measurement invariance; differential item function; distractor analysis; Australia; culture; group reading assessment; diagnostic evaluation; indigenous students.

DOI: 10.1504/IJQRE.2013.057697

International Journal of Quantitative Research in Education, 2013 Vol.1 No.3, pp.229 - 250

Published online: 29 Apr 2014 *

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