Multidimensional IRT Analysis of Reading Comprehension in English as a Foreign Language

Document Type : Special Issue


1 Institute of Natural Sciences and Geography, Abai Kazakh National Pedagogical University, Almaty, Kazakhstan, 13, Dostyk Av., 050010 Almaty, the Republic of Kazakhstan

2 2Al-Manara College for Medical Sciences, Maysan, Iraq

3 College of Pharmacy / Al-Farahidi University, Baghdad , Iraq

4 Al-Nisour University College, Baghdad, Iraq

5 Mazaya University College, Iraq

6 English Department, Al-Noor University College, Nineveh, Iraq

7 People’s Friendship University of Russia, Moscow, Russia


Unidimensionality is an important assumption of measurement but it is violated very often. Most of the time, tests are deliberately constructed to be multidimensional to cover all aspects of the intended construct. In such situations, the application of unidimensional item response theory (IRT) models is not justified due to poor model fit and misleading results. Multidimensional IRT (MIRT) models can handle several dimensions simultaneously and yield person ability parameters on several dimensions which is helpful for diagnostic purposes too. Furthermore, MIRT models use the correlation between the dimensions to enhance the precision of the measurement. In this study a reading comprehension test is modelled with the multidimensional Rasch model. The findings showed that a correlated 2-dimensional model has the best fit to the data. The bifactor model revealed some interesting information about the structure of reading comprehension and the reading curriculum. Implications of the study for the testing and teaching of reading comprehension are discussed.