Presentation on theme: "The trouble with resits … Dr Chris Ricketts Sub-Dean (Teaching Enhancement), Faculty of Technology and Director of Assessment, Peninsula College of Medicine."— Presentation transcript:
The trouble with resits … Dr Chris Ricketts Sub-Dean (Teaching Enhancement), Faculty of Technology and Director of Assessment, Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry but School of Mathematics and Statistics
Outline The coincidences that led me here Something about educational measurement The literature Some theory The question to which I don’t know the answer (yet!)
(Mental) health warning Mostly theory and speculation, no results.
Background Had been working on ‘domain referenced testing’ in PCMD. Had been thinking about ‘progress testing’. Chairing university’s assessment review. Received a paper with the title ‘The trouble with resits…’ to review. Started to think … Time to share my problem!
The ‘progress test’ prompt A ‘progress test’ is a test set at graduation level but sat by students in all years.
The ‘progress test’ prompt Concept goes back to Goulet (1955). First practical application described by Arnold & Willoughby (1990). My question - How can we use prior information (results on previous tests) to improve our estimate of what a student currently knows?
The referee prompt Looked at resits in clinical examinations Claimed that ‘it would be a brave assessment team which set a higher pass- mark for a resit …’ My question – Why do we not do this?
Educational measurement Educational measurement … is better conceived of as testing student performance on a sample of tasks from the area for purposes of predicting the extent of satisfactory performance in the area as a whole. Bock, Thissen & Zimowski (1997)
Educational measurement vs. competency testing? Competency testing means you can do a specific task. Multiple tries are sensible. (Perhaps we need repetitive competency assessments? Is a sample of one enough?) This is different from educational measurement. Educational measurement is an inference problem. Take a sample of tasks representative of the whole domain. On the basis of the performance on the sample we make inference about the whole domain.
The trouble with resits … A resit is another sample. How should we treat it?
The literature on re-sits There’s some info about what people do but very little about why. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice has nothing. Journal of Educational Measurement has nothing. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education has nothing. “Measurement and assessment in teaching” Linn & Gronlund has nothing. Can you help?
Some theory (1) All educational measurements are made with uncertainty This is usually described as the ‘Standard error of measurement’. The aim is to come to reliable decisions, usually implying a measurement with a small standard error.
Inference and uncertainty Uncertainty arises because of 1) the sample, 2) other sources of error. If someone fails, is this because the sample is inappropriate for them? - there is “case specificity”. A resit is another sample. How should we treat it?
Some theory (2) Adaptive testing or multi-stage testing. In classical adaptive testing we give a student a task of average difficulty. If they pass they the get a harder task. This gives more information at their particular ability level. If they fail, they get an easier task. Assumes ‘unidimensionality’. Students who hover around the pass mark generally sit longer tests to reduce the standard error of measurement.
Some theory (3) In multi-stage testing we give a student a sample of tasks. If they are a clear pass or fail the test ends. Students near the pass mark are given another sample of tasks. If the combined sample gives a clear pass/fail decision then the test stops. If there is still too much uncertainty, another sample of tasks is given. Again, students who hover around the pass mark generally sit longer tests to reduce the standard error of measurement.
How should we treat resits?? Is a resit an independent sample? That’s how we (and everyone else) treat it. Or is a resit a second sample? Are we using it to increase the sample size?
Should we use prior information?? After the first test we have an indication that a student who fails has not mastered the content/tasks that we expect. Should we use that information when we assess the resit? If we should, how would it work?
How would it work? The student mark on the combined first attempt and resit is used to make the pass/fail decision.
How would it work? Students who narrowly fail on the first attempt would only have to improve slightly to pass. Students who fail badly on the first attempt would have to improve substantially to pass.
Implications and discussion I need help! Your thoughts? Anyone know any literature on the ‘Theory of resits’???