Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Quantitative Research Methods

First Advisor

Kathy E. Green, Ph.D.


Cognitive diagnostic model, Item-attribute matrix, Least squares distance method, Linear logistic test model, Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, Mathematics test


For many cognitive diagnostic models, the item-attribute matrix (or Q-matrix) is an essential component which displays the relationship between items and their latent attributes or skills in knowledge and cognitive processes. However, it is a challenge to develop an effective Q-matrix.The purposes of this study were (1) to validate of the item-attribute matrix using two levels of attributes (Level 1 attributes and Level 2 sub-attributes), and (2) through retrofitting the diagnostic models to the mathematics test of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), to evaluate the construct validity of TIMSS mathematics assessment by comparing the results of two assessment booklets.

Item data were extracted from Booklets 2 and 3 for the 8th grade in TIMSS 2007, which included a total of 49 mathematics items and every student's response to every item. The study developed three categories of attributes at two levels: content, cognitive process (TIMSS or new), and comprehensive cognitive process (or IT) based on the TIMSS assessment framework, cognitive procedures, and item type. At level one, there were 4 content attributes (number, algebra, geometry, and data and chance), 3 TIMSS process attributes (knowing, applying, and reasoning), and 4 new process attributes (identifying, computing, judging, and reasoning). At level two, the level 1 attributes were further divided into 32 sub-attributes. There was only one level of IT attributes (multiple steps/responses, complexity, and constructed-response). Twelve Q-matrices (4 originally specified, 4 random, and 4 revised) were investigated with eleven Q-matrix models (QM1 ~ QM11) using multiple regression and the least squares distance method (LSDM).

Comprehensive analyses indicated that the proposed Q-matrices explained most of the variance in item difficulty (i.e., 64% to 81%). The cognitive process attributes contributed to the item difficulties more than the content attributes, and the IT attributes contributed much more than both the content and process attributes. The new retrofitted process attributes explained the items better than the TIMSS process attributes. Results generated from the level 1 attributes and the level 2 attributes were consistent. Most attributes could be used to recover students' performance, but some attributes' probabilities showed unreasonable patterns. The analysis approaches could not demonstrate if the same construct validity was supported across booklets. The proposed attributes and Q-matrices explained the items of Booklet 2 better than the items of Booklet 3. The specified Q-matrices explained the items better than the random Q-matrices.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Lin Ma

File size

224 p.

File format





Educational Tests & Measurements, Quantitative Psychology and Psychometrics