Item response theory analyses of the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System card sorting subtest

Mercedes Spencer*, Sun Joo Cho, Laurie E. Cutting

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In the current study, we examined the dimensionality of the 16-item Card Sorting subtest of the Delis-Kaplan Executive Functioning System assessment in a sample of 264 native English-speaking children between the ages of 9 and 15 years. We also tested for measurement invariance for these items across age and gender groups using item response theory (IRT). Results of the exploratory factor analysis indicated that a two-factor model that distinguished between verbal and perceptual items provided the best fit to the data. Although the items demonstrated measurement invariance across age groups, measurement invariance was violated for gender groups, with two items demonstrating differential item functioning for males and females. Multigroup analysis using all 16 items indicated that the items were more effective for individuals whose IRT scale scores were relatively high. A single-group explanatory IRT model using 14 non-differential item functioning items showed that for perceptual ability, females scored higher than males and that scores increased with age for both males and females; for verbal ability, the observed increase in scores across age differed for males and females. The implications of these findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-216
Number of pages19
JournalChild Neuropsychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 17 2019


  • Item response theory
  • differential item functioning
  • executive function
  • exploratory factor analysis
  • multigroup analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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