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Various definitions and different approaches for assessing the complex construct of parental involvement (PI) have led to inconsistent findings regarding the impact of PI on child development. To date, limited information is available regarding the measurement invariance of PI measures across time and groups (e.g., children’s gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic status), leaving a concern that group differences in PI might reflect item bias instead of true differences in PI. The present study aimed to obtain a set of optimal items for measuring PI from kindergarten through the elementary school years and investigate whether they could be used for parents from different groups. A Rasch measurement model was implemented to investigate item difficulty, step calibrations, and measurement invariance (differential item functioning; DIF, here). The results from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998–1999 data set showed that 20 items can be used to measure three dimensions of PI—namely school/home involvement, family educational investment, and family routines—across four time points. Administrative time, children’s gender, ethnicity, and social economic status showed different levels of effect on item difficulty for half of these items. Practitioners and researchers should be cautious when using these items and are suggested to freely estimate the item parameters of DIF items as well as add more items to the PI scale to improve reliability.
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- Optimal Items for Assessing Parental Involvement across Different Groups During Middle Childhood
- Springer US