Methods of Detecting Insufficient Effort Responding: Comparisons and Practical Recommendations
Insufficient effort responding (IER) affects many forms of assessment in both educational and psychological contexts. Much research has examined different types of IER, IER’s impact on the psychometric properties of test scores, and preprocessing procedures used to detect IER. However, there is a gap in the literature in terms of practical advice for applied researchers and psychometricians when evaluating multiple sources of IER evidence, including the best strategy or combination of strategies when preprocessing data. In this study, we demonstrate how the use of different IER detection methods may affect psychometric properties such as predictive validity and reliability. Moreover, we evaluate how different data cleansing procedures can detect different types of IER. We provide evidence via simulation studies and applied analysis using the ACT’s Engage assessment as a motivating example. Based on the findings of the study, we provide recommendations and future research directions for those who suspect their data may contain responses reflecting careless, random, or biased responding.