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Using the Attribute Hierarchy Method to Identify and Interpret Cognitive Skills that Produce Group Differences

Mark J. Gierl
Yinggan Zheng
Ying Cui
Journal / Anthology

Journal of Educational Measurement
Year: 2008
Volume: 45
Issue: 1
Page range: 65-89

You can download a tutorial Mathematica Notebook of this study at the CRAME website: http://www2.education.ualberta.ca/educ/psych/crame/research.html

The purpose of this study is to describe how the attribute hierarchy method (AHM) can be used to evaluate differential group performance at the cognitive attribute level. The AHM is a psychometric method for classifying examinees' test item responses into a set of attribute-mastery patterns associated with different components in a cognitive model of task performance. Attribute probabilities, computed using a neural network, can be estimated on each attribute for each examinee thereby providing specific information about the examinee's attribute-mastery level. These probabilities can also be compared across groups. We describe a four-step procedure for estimating and interpreting group differences using the AHM. We also provide an example using student response data from a sample of algebra items on the SAT to illustrate our pattern recognition approach for studying group differences.

*Social Science > Sociology and Psychology

AE, AHM, ADF, cognitive model, attribute probabilities