Analysis of Responses to Vocational Interest Items: A Study of Australian High School Students

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Journal Article
Journal of Career Assessment, 2001, 9 (1), pp. 61 - 79
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The vocational interests of 2,709 male and female high school students in Australia were examined using a Rasch model of item responding. The present study used a national probability sample of Australian youth. Participants completed a 24-item questionnaire that reflected the vocational interest typology of Holland. Item response analysis was used to determine the location of the four questions that comprised each of the vocational scales. Scales and items conformed generally to the measurement model. Infit mean squares centred on 1.0 and separability was satisfactory for all scales (0.85 to 0.99) except the Investigative scale. The analysis of items using a Rasch model provided new information on how individuals responded to items and the complexity of responses within interest categories. It is argued that simple raw scores or summing scores may not offer a valid basis for assessment of interests.
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