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Child Neuropsychol. 2019 Feb;25(2):198-216. doi: 10.1080/09297049.2018.1433156. Epub 2018 Feb 2.

Item response theory analyses of the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System card sorting subtest.

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a Vanderbilt University Medical Center , Vanderbilt University , Nashville , TN , USA.
b Department of Psychology and Human Development , Vanderbilt University , Nashville , TN , USA.


In the current study, we examined the dimensionality of the 16-item Card Sorting subtest of the Delis-Kaplan Executive Functioning System assessment in a sample of 264 native English-speaking children between the ages of 9 and 15 years. We also tested for measurement invariance for these items across age and gender groups using item response theory (IRT). Results of the exploratory factor analysis indicated that a two-factor model that distinguished between verbal and perceptual items provided the best fit to the data. Although the items demonstrated measurement invariance across age groups, measurement invariance was violated for gender groups, with two items demonstrating differential item functioning for males and females. Multigroup analysis using all 16 items indicated that the items were more effective for individuals whose IRT scale scores were relatively high. A single-group explanatory IRT model using 14 non-differential item functioning items showed that for perceptual ability, females scored higher than males and that scores increased with age for both males and females; for verbal ability, the observed increase in scores across age differed for males and females. The implications of these findings are discussed.


Item response theory; differential item functioning; executive function; exploratory factor analysis; multigroup analysis

[Available on 2020-02-01]

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