Bayes factor covariance testing in item response models

J.P. Fox, J. Mulder, Sandip Sinharay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Two marginal one-parameter item response theory models are introduced, by integrating out the latent variable or random item parameter. It is shown that both marginal response models are multivariate (probit) models with a compound symmetry covariance structure. Several common hypotheses concerning the underlying covariance structure are evaluated using (fractional) Bayes factor tests. The support for a unidimensional factor (i.e., assumption of local independence) and differential item functioning are evaluated by testing the covariance components. The posterior distribution of common covariance components is obtained in closed form by transforming latent responses with an orthogonal (Helmert) matrix. This posterior distribution is defined as a shifted-inverse-gamma, thereby introducing a default prior and a balanced prior distribution. Based on that, an MCMC algorithm is described to estimate all model parameters and to compute (fractional) Bayes factor tests. Simulation studies are used to show that the (fractional) Bayes factor tests have good properties for testing the underlying covariance structure of binary response data. The method is illustrated with two real data studies.
Keywords: Bayesian inference, Bayes factor, marginal IRT, local independence random item parameter
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)979-1006
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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