Standardized tests are used widely in comparative studies of clinical populations, either as dependent or control variables. Yet, one cannot always be sure that the test items measure the same constructs in the groups under study. In the present work, 460 participants with intellectual disability of undifferentiated etiology and 488 typical children were tested using Raven's Colored Progressive Matrices (RCPM). Data were analyzed using binomial logistic regression modeling designed to detect differential item functioning (DIF). Results showed that 12 items out of 36 function differentially between the two groups, but only 2 items exhibit at least moderate DIF. Thus, a very large majority of the items have identical discriminative power and difficulty levels across the two groups. It is concluded that RCPM can be used with confidence in studies comparing participants with and without intellectual disability. In addition, it is suggested that methods for investigating internal bias of tests used in cross-cultural, cross-linguistic or cross-gender comparisons should also be regularly employed in studies of clinical populations, particularly in the field of developmental disability, to show the absence of systematic measurement error (i.e. DIF) affecting item responses. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.