Sunday, April 7, 2019

F is for Facets

So far this month, I've talked about the different things that affect the outcome of measurement - in that it determines how someone will respond. Those things so far would be item difficulty and person ability. How much ability a person has or how much of the trait they possess will affect how they respond to items of varying ability. Each of things that interacts to affect the outcome of Rasch measurement is called a "facet."

But these don't have to be the only facets in a Rasch analysis. You can have additional facets, making for a more complex model. In our content validation studies, we administer a job analysis survey asking people to rate different job-related tasks. As is becoming standard in this industry, we use two different scales for each item, one rating how frequently this task is performed (so we can place more weight on the more frequently performed items) and one rating how critical it is to perform this task competently to protect the public (so we can place more weight on the highly critical items). In this model, we can differentiate between the two scales and see how the scale used changes how people respond. This means that rating scale also becomes a facet, one with two levels: frequency scale and criticality scale.

When conducting a more complex model like this, we need software that can handle these complexities. The people who brought us Winsteps, the software I use primarily for Rasch analysis, also have a program called Facets, which can handle these more complex models.

In a previous blog post, I talked about a facets model I was working with, one with four facets: person ability, item difficulty, rating scale, and timing (whether they received frequency first or second). But one could use a facets model for other types of data, like judge rating data. The great thing about using facets to examine judge data is that one can also partial out concepts like judge leniency; that is, some judges go "easier" on people than others, and a facets models lets you model that leniency. You would just need to have your judges rate more than one person in the set and have some overlap with other judges, similar to the overlap I introduced in the equating post.

This is the thing I love about Rasch measurement, in that it is a unique approach to measurement that can expand in complexity to whatever measurement situation you're presented with. It's all based on the Rasch measurement model, a mathematical model that represents the characteristics a "good measure" should possess - that's what we'll talk about tomorrow when we examine global fit statistics!

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