Cultural Validity of the Group Reading Assessment and Diagnostic Evaluation Level K Phonological Awareness Scale for Indigenous Australians

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phonological awareness assessment, indigenous Australian, cultural validity, measurement invariance, differential item function, distractor analysis

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In this study, we investigate the cultural validity of the group reading assessment and diagnostic evaluation, level K (grade K) phonological awareness scale for Australian indigenous students. Results revealed measurement variance between indigenous (n = 224) and non-indigenous students (n = 286). Nine out of the 30 phonological awareness items exhibited uniform differential item function (DIF), indicating these items were more difficult for the indigenous students, controlling for ability. Additionally, results revealed three out of the 30 items exhibited non-uniform DIF indicating that the items exhibited a different relationship to phonological awareness in the indigenous and non-indigenous groups. A distractor analysis compared differences in distractor item choice to explain indigenous students’ difficulty with the items. Through a linguistic and cultural lens, our analysis does not provide sufficient evidence to determine why particular items were more difficult than others for indigenous students. The phonologies of indigenous students’ home languages did not appear to explain the different performance of indigenous and non-indigenous students.

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International Journal of Quantitative Research in Education, v. 1, no. 3, p. 229-250