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Exploring the Dimensionality of Large-Scale Standardized Educational Assessments using PROC FACTOR

By Jonathan Steinberg and Educational Testing Service


Standardized educational assessments test students in specific subject areas or measure certain core competencies. Educational researchers regularly use exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to understand a test’s internal structure related to its design. PROC PRINCOMP may be used; yet, it has limitations in dealing with the potentially complex structure of standardized test data. This paper will demonstrate how PROC FACTOR is more useful in two ways. First, chi-square hypothesis tests can determine whether a specified number of factors fit the data, particularly when no a priori hypotheses exist about the test’s internal structure. Secondly, rotation of multiple factors can be employed to account for inherent inter-factor correlations. This paper is intended for those with good knowledge of multivariate statistics and moderate levels of SAS ® programming experience

Year: 2013
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