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Bollmann, Stella; Berger, Moritz; Tutz, Gerhard (2018): Item-Focused Trees for the Detection of Differential Item Functioning in Partial Credit Models. In: Educational and Psychological Measurement, Vol. 78, No. 5: pp. 781-804


Various methods to detect differential item functioning (DIF) in item response models are available. However, most of these methods assume that the responses are binary, and so for ordered response categories available methods are scarce. In the present article, DIF in the widely used partial credit model is investigated. An item-focused tree is proposed that allows the detection of DIF items, which might affect the performance of the partial credit model. The method uses tree methodology, yielding a tree for each item that is detected as DIF item. The visualization as trees makes the results easily accessible, as the obtained trees show which variables induce DIF and in which way. In the present paper, the new method is compared with alternative approaches and simulations demonstrate the performance of the method.