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On the Use of Covariates in a Latent Class Signal Detection Model, with Applications to Constructed Response Scoring

Wang, Zijian Gerald

A latent class signal detection (SDT) model was recently introduced as an alternative to traditional item response theory (IRT) methods in the analysis of constructed response data. This class of models can be represented as restricted latent class models and differ from the IRT approach in the way the latent construct is conceptualized. One appeal of the signal detection approach is that it provides an intuitive framework from which psychological processes governing rater behavior can be better understood. The present study developed an extension of the latent class SDT model to include covariates and examined the performance of the resulting model. Covariates can be incorporated into the latent class SDT model in three ways: 1) to affect latent class membership, 2) conditional response probabilities and 3) both latent class membership and conditional response probabilities. In each case, simulations were conducted to investigate both parameter recovery and classification accuracy of the extended model under two competing rater designs; in addition, implications of ignoring covariate effects and covariate misspecification were explored. Here, the ability of information criteria, namely the AIC, small sample adjusted AIC and BIC, in recovering the true model with respect to how covariates are introduced was also examined. Results indicate that parameters were generally well recovered in fully-crossed designs; to obtain similar levels of estimation precision in incomplete designs, sample size requirements were comparatively higher and depend on the number of indicators used. When covariate effects were not accounted for or misspecified, results show that parameter estimates tend to be severely biased, which in turn reduced classification accuracy. With respect to model recovery, the BIC performed the most consistently amongst the information criteria considered. In light of these findings, recommendations were made with regard to sample size requirements and model building strategies when implementing the extended latent class SDT model.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Measurement and Evaluation
Thesis Advisors
DeCarlo, Lawrence
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 7, 2012