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Latent class models for testing monotonicity and invariant item ordering for polytomous items



Two assumptions that are relevant to many applications using item response theory are the assumptions of monotonicity (M) and invariant item ordering (IIO). A latent class model is proposed for ordinal items with inequality constraints on the class-specific item means. This model is used as a tool for testing for violations of M and IIO. A Gibbs sampling scheme is used for estimating the model parameters. It is shown that the deviance information criterion can be used as an overall test of M and IIO, while posterior predictive checks can be used to test these assumptions at the item level. A real data application illustrates a model-fitting strategy for detecting items that violate M and IIO.