Large-Scale Assessments in Germany have shown that language-minority students as well as students with special educational needs (SEN) perform significantly less well than language-majority students or students without SEN. This performance gap may be related to a limited accessibility of the tests. One way to test whether assessments allow all students to demonstrate their knowledge in a comparable way is the analysis of differential item functioning (DIF). In this chapter, we evaluate DIF coefficients in order to examine group-specific difficulties in reading comprehension for language-minority students and students with SEN in the German National Educational Assessment.
In the first study, we investigate the assessment of reading literacy of language-minority learners and German monolinguals from low-SES families. We found only a few items with moderate DIF and no items with large DIF. This indicates that the reading assessment was equally valid for second-language learners and German monolingual students.
In our second study, we report about the psychometrically successful development of easy and more accessible reading tasks for students with SEN. Further analyses showed that DIF predominantly occurred in items that captured contents that are not necessarily covered in literacy instruction targeted at students with SEN.
Böhme, K., Heppt, B. and Haag, N. (2017), "Inclusive Literacy Education and Reading Assessment for Language-Minority Students and Students with Special Educational Needs in German Elementary Schools", Inclusive Principles and Practices in Literacy Education (International Perspectives on Inclusive Education, Vol. 11), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 69-86. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-363620170000011005
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