Examining the inseparability of content knowledge from LSP reading ability: An approach combining bifactor-multidimensional item response theory and structural equation modeling

Yuyang CAI, Antony John KUNNAN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticles

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study examined the separability of domain-general and domain-specific content knowledge from Language for Specific Purposes (LSP) reading ability. A pool of 1,491 nursing students in China participated by responding to a nursing English test and a nursing knowledge test. Primary data analysis involved four steps: (a) conducting a bifactor-multidimensional item response theory model (bifactor-MIRT) analysis to establish measurement validity for the assumed domain-general factor and domain-specific factors underlying each test and to compute bifactor-MIRT direct scores; (b) transforming the bifactor-MIRT scores into composite scores; (c) conducting a confirmatory factor analysis with the composite scores to reconstruct the orginal bifactor-MIRT models, and (d) conducting a structural equation modeling analysis to explore the relationship between nursing knowledge factors (domain-general and domain-specific) and the nursing English reading factors (domain-general and domain-specific). The results showed that the domain-specific passage factors were significantly correlated with their corresponding domain-specific nursing knowledge factors and that domain-general nursing knowledge significantly predicted the variance of the domain-general reading factor. Overall, we concluded that content knowledge is inseparable from LSP reading ability. The implications for understanding LSP ability and for LSP reading test scoring are discussed. Copyright © 2018 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-129
JournalLanguage Assessment Quarterly
Volume15
Issue number2
Early online dateMar 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Citation

Cai, Y., & Kunnan, A. J. (2018). Examining the inseparability of content knowledge from LSP reading ability: An approach combining bifactor-multidimensional item response theory and structural equation modeling. Language Assessment Quarterly, 15(2), 109-129. doi: 10.1080/15434303.2018.1451532

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