Good item or bad-can latent class analysis tell?: the utility of latent class analysis for the evaluation of survey questions

Summary. Latent class analysis has been used to model measurement error, to identify flawed survey questions and to estimate mode effects. Using data from a survey of University of Maryland alumni together with alumni records, we evaluate this technique to determine its usefulness for detecting bad questions in the survey context. Two sets of latent class analysis models are applied in this evaluation: latent class models with three indicators and latent class models with two indicators under different assumptions about prevalence and error rates. Our results indicated that the latent class analysis approach produced good qualitative results for the latent class models2014the item that the model deemed the worst was the worst according to the true scores. However, the approach yielded weaker quantitative estimates of the error rates for a given item.