Cover: Examining the Inclusion of Neutral Response Categories Using an Item Response Theory Approach

Examining the Inclusion of Neutral Response Categories Using an Item Response Theory Approach

Analysis of a Randomized Survey of Teachers

Published Jan 9, 2024

by Louis T. Mariano, Andrea Phillips, Kevin Estes, M. Rebecca Kilburn

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Survey Likert scales with degree-of-agreement response categories are commonly fielded. Whether to offer a neutral response category for such scales is not well informed. Using data from a randomized survey of teachers and an Item Response Theory-based analytic approach, RAND researchers examine the utilization of a neutral response option when offered and discuss potential changes to conclusions depending on neutral category presence.

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This research was conducted in the Justice Policy Program within RAND Social and Economic Well-Being.

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