aiou course code 6507-2assignment autumn 2022
Course: Educational Measurement and Evaluation (6507)
Semester: Autumn, 2022 Level: MA/M.Ed.
Q.1 Discuss some of the popular observational techniques. Present a criticism over the use and credibility of self reported data and its techniques.
Tests, examinations and continuous assessment can provide valuable data for action research. For your teaching course, you have to set up a method of student assessment and your students have to be assessed, so you might as well make use of it in your project.
You should, however, be clear about the nature of the information you can obtain from examination results or assessment grades. Comparison of one set of results with another often has limited validity as assignments, examinations, markers and marking schemes are rarely held constant. In addition most assessment is norm referenced rather than criterion referenced. (Linked with permission from CRESST,UCLA in USA.)
You also need to be very clear as to what is being assessed. Examination grades may bear little relationship to specific qualities you could be investigating. For example, if the theme of an action research project is encouraging meaningful learning, then the examination results would only be of value if they truly reflect meaningful learning. They would be of little value if they consisted of problems which could be solved by substituting numbers into a remembered formula, or essays which required the reproduction of sections from lecture notes. So think carefully about the qualities which you wish to test and whether the assessment is a true test of those qualities.
One way in which answers to assessment questions can be analysed for project purposes is by dividing them into qualitative categories. A systematic procedure for establishing categories is the SOLO taxonomy (Biggs and Collis, 1982). The SOLO taxonomy divides answers to written assessment questions into five categories, judged according to the level of learning: prestructural, unistructural, multistructural, relational and extended abstract. The five levels correspond to answers ranging from the incorrect or irrelevant, through use of appropriate data, to integration of data in an appropriate way, and ending in innovative extensions.
Closed Ended Questionnaires
Closed questionnaires are ones which constrain the responses to a limited number chosen by the researcher; essentially it is a multiple choice format. Usually respondents are asked the extent to which they agree or disagree with a given statement. Responses are recorded on a Likert scale, such as the one in the example below, which ranges from ‘definitely agree’ to ‘definitely disagree’.
Questions should be carefully constructed so the meaning is clear and unambiguous. It is a good idea to trial the questionnaire on a limited number of students before giving it to a whole group.
Closed questionnaires are easy to process and evaluate and can give clear answers to specific questions. However, the questions are defined by the researcher, so could completely miss the concerns of the respondents. You might therefore draw up the questions after a few exploratory interviews, or include some open-ended questions to give respondents a chance to raise other issues of concern.
Most institutions now have some form of standard teaching evaluation questionnaire available. These may be of some help in evaluating a project but in most cases the questions will not be sufficiently specific to the particular type of innovation which has been introduced. What might be more helpful are the data banks of optional or additional questions which are available. These can be used to pick or suggest questions which might be included in a more tailor-made questionnaire.
Traditionally, collecting questionnaire, survey data is done by using copies of paper questionnaire and answer sheets. With the availability of web technology, there is now the option of collecting survey data online.
To collect data using paper questionnaire, special answer sheets called OMR forms are often used. Respondents to questionnaires will be asked to mark their answers to questions of the questionnaire on OMR forms. An optical mark scanner will then be used to read the marks made on the OMR forms. The process will produce an electronic data file containing the responses to the questionnaire. The data file can then be analysed using software programs such as MS Excel or SPSS. In HKUST, both the optical mark scanner and OMR forms are available from ITSC.
In HKUST, instructors can use a specially designed web-based system called Qualtrics to collect questionnaire survey data online. This system allows users to create their online questionnaires using a graphical interface and without the need to do any programming. Once the questionnaire is created, the instructor can ask students to visit the Qualtrics website to complete the questionnaire online.
Diary / Journal
Everyone involved in an action learning project should keep a diary or journal in which they record:
- their initial reflections on the topic of concern
- the plans that were made
- a record of actions which were taken
- observation of the effects of the actions
- impressions and personal opinions about the action taken and reactions to them
- results obtained from other observation techniques
- references for, and notes on, any relevant literature or supporting documents which are discovered.
Research reports are often very impersonal documents but this should not be the case for an action learning journal – quite the contrary! It should contain a record of both what you did and what you thought. In it you should regularly and systematically reflect critically on the effects of your project and how it is progressing.
Journals act as the starting points for critical reflection at the regular meetings of the project team. By sharing observations and reflections it is possible to fine-tune the innovation. Sympathetic but critical discussion can also heighten awareness and contribute to changing perspectives.
Keep copies of any documents which are relevant to the course(s) you are examining. These can include:
- documents for the course development and accreditation process
- minutes of course committees
- the course syllabus
- memos between course team leaders and members
- handouts to students
- copies of tests and examinations
- lists of test results and student grades.
Interaction schedules are methods for analysing and recording what takes place during a class. A common approach is to note down at regular intervals (say every minute) who is talking, and to categorise what they were saying or doing. An alternative to time sampling is event sampling in which behaviour is noted every time a particular event occurs. Examples of categories could be; tutor asking question, tutor giving explanation, tutor giving instruction, student answering question or student asking question. The analysis can be made by an observer at the class or can be made subsequently from a tape or video recording.
Q.2 What kind of difficulties are faced by examines during test administration process? Give some suggestions to overcome the problems during test administration.
Testing was first introduced as a policy mechanism in China 210 B.C. By the 18th century, written examination was introduced to supplement oral mode of testing, especially in Mathematics. Later in the same century, assessment of quantitative marks was introduced to reduce the bias of qualitative judgement about an examinee’s level of performance across the oral disputation and written portion of the examination. The development of the quantitative marks was the first step in the development of the field of psychometric as we know it today. The advent of the Psychological Testing Movements in the 19th century brought about the belief that testing could be more than assess what people learn because test could be used to assess the mental ability of the examines. In the first 10 years of the 20th century, the short-answer supply mode appeared and high 1914, Kelly invented the multiple choice item. This development was in response to studies which showed that marks assigned to essay questions were highly unreliable and partly in response to the growth of the scientific management movement’s application to education.. The movement required that the growing number of children could be tested to measure a district’s efficiency.
In 1955, Lindquist invention of the high speed optical scanner overcame the hand or electromechanical scoring. The technology of the optical scanner coupled with the multiple choice item, made it economically feasible to mount the large-scale district and state multiple choice testing programme between the 1960’s and 1990’s. The changes in assessment technology between 1700-1900 AD years were all geared to increasing efficiency and making the assessment system more manageable, standardized, easily adminisable, objective, reliable, comparable and inexpensive as the number of examines, increased.
Regardless of the listed advantages, eminent scholars such as Vergis and Hardy (2010), Fadal et al. (2007), Yu (2005), Payla (2000), Huitt et al. (2001), Tyack (1974), Madaus (1985), McDonagh and Madaus (1979), Charney (1984), Cole (1987), Zessouless and Garden (1990), Darling-Hammond (1991), Jaeger (1991), Shepard (1991) and Nutall (1992) have raised pertinent issues against the acceptability and universality of common assessment measures in any education system.
The implementation of common educational assessment measures (such as the National Common Entrance Examination, the West African School Certificate Examination, General Certificate in Examination, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board Examination and, of course. Internal Joint Admission and Matriculation Board Examination) in the Nigerian education system are essential in the development of the world finest education system. Such policy is believed to motivate our children, lift some students to world class standards, help increase the national productivity and contribute to the restoration of our global competitiveness.
Contrary to the policy statement, the Nigerian educational assessment and measurement processes are largely based on the simplistic stimulus-response view of learning. Most of the public examinations are like evaluating knowledge only on the basis of the candidate’s recall of what he/she had previously learnt. Strictly speaking, assessment measures and administrative procedures should be concerned with the evaluation of candidate’s abilities to prepare for the mastery of various roles and situations that constitute the professional encounter of what had been previously learnt. The issue of assessment measures and administration procedures have been a concern for the researchers all over the world. Several studies have therefore been conducted to assess secondary school students involvement in examination such as Abdullahi worked on improving the Nigerian Senior Secondary School students’ performance in the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board examinations. Results are as diversified as many authors that have engaged in the research on this topic.
In another attempt to analyse the challenges facing the administration of educational assessment measures in secondary schools, teachers have been encouraged to employ practical demonstration on data collection, collation and analysis for effective decision making in assessment process. Effective utilisation of improvised and standard instructional materials and teachers positive attitude towards the use of Information and Communication technology have been identified as relevant tools for instruction and assessment in schools
In Nigeria today, it appears to be the case that various testing agencies are failing to consider the dilemma of validity and reliability in the assessment and measurement procedures especially at the secondary level of education. Quite often, validity is sacrificed for reliability and this (mistake) usually results in measures being only concerned with the precision of scores rather than the intellectual value of the challenges. Being concerned only with the precision of candidates’ scores, does not or in a very little form, tell us whether such candidates have the capacities to use wisely what knowledge they have acquired or the same knowledge is to short account our educational objectives especially in a pluralistic and diverse society as Nigeria. Common knowledge is not a robust aim of education. If confidence is more like contextual insight and good judgement than inert knowledge, then we need to address the challenges of public assessment, measurement and administrative procedures especially at the secondary level of education.
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of the study was to examine some of the challenges involved in the administration of educational assessment measures in the Nigerian education system. The researcher also endeavoured to analyse the technology of psychometrics both in quantitative and qualitative terms, with particular reference to standardized tests used as the primary method for determining students’ performance and admission into tertiary institutions.
Thus the study examined some of the challenges involved in the administration of education assessment measures in the Nigerian education system, by analysing the technology of the psychometrics both qualitatively and quantitatively. The quantitative aspects concerned the examination of the 1988-1991 Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations in Mathematics, Biology, Physics and Chemistry to buttress the theoretical views advanced in this study.
Important to note about the results presented in
whether students have the capacity to use wisely what knowledge they have acquired. These results therefore do not provide a basis for judgement that can be made through tasks that require students to perform in highly contextualized situations that are as faithful and as possible to criterion situations. There is need, therefore, to seek a more robust and authentic, construct of understanding and more valid tests by keeping in mind that the policy statement of education in Nigeria as reported by National Policy on Education in 1981.
Integration of the individual into-a sound and effective citizen and provision of equal education opportunities for all citizen.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
A research into the challenges of assessment, measurement and administrative procedures, especially at the secondary level of education in Nigeria will enhance robust constructed understanding of test validity and reliability by keeping in mind that by performance, we mean to execute a task or process and to bring it to completion. The findings may give insight to our testing agencies that the candidates abilities to perform in public examination, should be based only on what we produce as individuals, using a repertoire of knowledge and skills that arc responsive to particular task.
Not only this, the findings may lead to reforms necessary to improve upon common assessment measures in the education system. This may have advantage of giving teachers and testing agencies, clear models of acceptable outcomes and make them have positive attitudes towards instruction and learning. In sum, positive change in attitudes may narrow down education gap, either real or imagined, in the national, racial, linguistic and cultural and gender spheres across the nation.
CHALLENGES IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE EDUCATIONAL ASSESSMENT MEASURES
The history of the educational development: The first challenge inherent in our national examination system is that when we look at the history of educational development and the diversified educational background, it does not tally with the practicability of our current examination educational assessment policies especially for the large scale use of such educational assessment measures for certifying an individual’s successful completion of a given level of education and/or for making decision about individuals’ entrance into tertiary institutions or the occupational opportunities. Considering the wide gap between the poor and rich home, the urban and rural schools, the good and bad schools, the acceptability or practicability of common examination system among Nigerian school pupils is certainly questionable and this should pose a challenge to the administration of the educational assessment measures.
Considering the education gap, performance based assessment should be based on the input variables in terms of equality of teachers, facilities and location of the secondary schools. On the basis of the differences inherent in the Nigerian secondary education system, such national assessment measures should have been better used for formative and diagnostic purposes rather than the traditional standard for certification, admission into further educational places and employment purposes. The suggestion here is that performance based assessment in the hands of the teachers, adequately reflecting the classroom routine equitable input variables should be used for certification, admission and employment. This suggestion does not centre entirely on the classroom teachers but highly decentralized examination bodies that focus exclusively on the differences inherent in the locality, school standard and the resource input in the education system.
In this respect, teachers, resource input at the secondary school level, cultural environment based on historical perspectives and not national common assessment measures should be the cornerstone of certification, admission and employment intakes. Decentralisation of the examination body in Nigeria may be a way forward.
It may be the case that, the deep mistrust in the central national common educational assessment measures, that examination malpractice, has their strongest root. It sounds odd that our public educational assessment procedures cannot adequately be constructive hi nature. How do we explain the fact that students with forged certificates still survive in our higher institutions of learning until they are screened out. Is it possible, for instance, for a non-typist to do equally well hi a practical examination with trained typist? Or is it possible for non-French speaking students to survive in a French class and perform equally well enough, amongst French, students? It is simply the fact that our educational assessment procedures at the secondary level lack construct validity and this is a challenge that needs be addressed in our education system.
Equity issues: Another challenge is the serious error observed on issues concerning equity. The equity issues are even more profound and challenging than those of construct validity. It is a basic fact that no common education procedures can produce truly just measures until policy makers put in place appropriate national delivery standards for social, health, educational resource and other support systems for a family. The demand here is that we need national system in Nigeria, which implements, social, health family, educational resources and support system equitably across states and local government areas, we are to use common educational assessment measures for secondary education students. It is an irony of circumstance that it is the creation of national education assessment centres that dominate the education discourse while we only give lip service to the equity of standard in secondary schools.
What justifications are there, for instance, to give common examination to finalists in International School Ibadan, King’s College Lagos, Adesoye College, Offa and the finalists in Taraba Secondary School in Taraba State, Talata-Mafara Secondary school in Sokoto State, Dambata Secondary School in Kano State and Otte Secondary School in Kwara State? First, we need educational playing field that is at least seemingly equitable for all students. Any examination system put in place for common education assessment measures for all the individuals and yet neglects, the concomitant reforms in social, health and educational delivery systems will only produce inherently unjust measures and this is a challenge in that our assessment measures do not consider the issue of equity in the input resource input variables.
Testing as a technology: Our focus here is on the standard and quality of test designers especially at the secondary education level. If we look at the policy rate of authentic assessment from the point of view that testing as a technology and it must be viewed as such, then the challenge posed by the quality of test designers and administrators in Nigeria can be understood. Assessment is seen as a technical art, a complex of standardised means for attaining a predetermined end in social, economic, administrative and educational institutions. In the early days of our educational history, we could describe the personnel involved in assessment almost as easily as lay people. Even today in Nigeria, the quality of personnel involved in test designs cannot be compared with what obtains in the developed world. In the developed world, the standard of assessment procedures is highly specialized in terms of the entire test development processes, the cultural background, the material chosen for inclusion, the language and idioms used, the validation processes and the groups in their societies.
In Nigeria, a large percentage of the test designers are ignorant of the statistical procedures involved in the educational assessment measures and the advances made with the use of computers. The concern should be centred on how computer can be used in assessment procedures and the vocabularies needed Jo facilitate the usage. For assessment to produce a set of consequences logically and permanently or temporarily, it requires the training of personnel that are involved in assessment of students’ right from primary level. It is pertinent therefore, to note that some measure of technical development has been stocked in computer usage in favour of qualitative assessment measures and we heed a measure of interest in these advances.
Screening certain group: The administration of common educational assessment measures also faces we challenge of using test results to screen out certain groups especially ethnic, racial minorities, poor and rural population in the society, their fair change to receive certain social benefits. This is true when test scores are used mechanically as selection and placement devices in educational and job opportunities. The challenge here is to inquire whether these groups of people have been justifiably or unjustifiably screened out and further more to ask what constitutes a fair and equitable use of test scores in personnel selection, placement and classification. This challenge becomes more involving when we inquire further the relationship among test scores, education inputs and job performance especially in the context, in which tests scores are used. The philosophical and political implications of this challenge lie more in the values a society accepts as desirable goals for a system of personnel allocation and utilization. We need to ask, therefore, how much weight should the Nigerian society give to maximising productivity of her educational or industrial establishment. How much weight should be given to balancing equal opportunities among different ethnic groups hi Nigeria to eliminate the inherently existing educational and occupational inequalities?
Psychometric research results may be able to provide some measure of answers, but the cost of forcing numerical equality amongst groups of unequal access and opportunity for selection and placement decisions through test processes pose a great challenge. In this challenge lie the political issue of Quota system and the federal character policies in Nigeria.
Psychological issues: Another area of challenge is me domain of invasion of the right of the individuals by subjecting the children tested to Psychological risks. To non-psychologists, it may be hard to see how ability test, may be damaging to children’s self-esteem. Poor performance on ability test, in terms of common examination at the national level, evokes extra-anxiety, worry and self-derogation and other psychological hazards and quite often parents are not excluded. The challenge involved is to evaluate such severity of the hazards and to ameliorate the countervailing benefits both to the children and their parents. Closely related to this is the categorising of the individuals in the region as Educationally Backward States (BBS) or Educationally Disadvantaged States (EDS) and this is applicable in Nigeria. Hebbs (1975) explained that such labels carry with them a Cluster of implications to what the individual is like, can do and can be expected to become.
Instances of mislabelling are evident in Nigeria. The prospects for the future treatment of the people in such states should be a mailer of concern to our education administrators. They must educate the public that any ability test score is a mere descriptive fact about a person and that this fact can only be fully understood in terms of the total past and present history of educational development. Ability test scores are really meant to assist teachers, counsellors and social workers in helping pupils thoroughly enough and not for, me categorisation or filling the available educational opportunities.
Right of script: When an individual stands accused in a court, he/she has the right to face his accuser, hear the evidence against him or her and offer evidence to refute the accusation. In administration of education assessment measurement, candidates do not know how their tests are being interpreted and are vary little aware of how decisions have been arrived at. In a less than perfect reliability of test scores and the human error in handling test results, it is necessary that candidates should be given the privilege to see their scripts if they feel strongly cheated by the final results communicated to them. This apart from benefiting the testee, it may improve the reliability of scoring, handling of scores and improve upon the assessment procedures. This demand appears necessary when we consider the secrecy and privilege test administrators enjoy in Nigeria. The secrecy of academic records has brought about considerable harm to the process of administration of education assessment. Secrecy of academic records has brought damage to test self-esteem. This demand is aimed at reducing the severity of die hazards candidates adjudged to be failure do face.
It is worthy of note that assessment measures are sometimes quite misleading. Assessment results need be a true descriptive fact about an individual and it must be based on full understanding of individual past and present context in terms of economic, cultural and social background assessment measures should therefore, be thorough enough to put all information together wisely so that the tests are understood and helped meaningfully rather than test results being used merely for labelling.
Q.3 Discuss the functions of marking and reporting students’ performance at school level. Highlight the weaknesses in our examination system at secondary level.
Purpose of Grading
Purpose for Grades: Grades serve as a powerful tool.
- Communicate achievement status to student, parents and others
- Provide information and feedback that students can use for self-evaluation and growth
- Encourage student growth mindset and progress in learning
- Help identify students for available educational opportunities (courses or programs)
- Evaluate the effectiveness of curricular, instructional and assessment practices
- Identify how well a student meets the prioritized standards in a grade level or course.
- Provide an official record of performance.
- Accurately reflect student achievement as related to academic standards and College and Career Readiness Standards & be consistent with external assessments
Grading and Feedback: Students learn best through a system of clear learning targets, quality formative assessment, developmental feedback, and the opportunity to respond to that feedback in order to guide their effort toward higher levels of understanding.
“Self-efficacy has an effect size of .82 relative to students’ academic performance. This translates to an expected 29 percentile point gain.” – Marzano, Pickering, & Heflebower, The Highly Engaged Classroom (2010).
“Characteristics of sound feedback include that it should be frequent, give students a clear picture of their progress and how they might improve, and provide encouragement.” – Robert J. Marzano, Classroom Assessment and Grading That Work (2006)
The process of formative assessment, developmental feedback, summative assessment, and target-based grading has the following purposes:
Grading and Feedback for the STUDENT
- Supports student learning by helping students understand the relationship between their current performance and the desired/next level of performance.
- Supports student effort by helping students understand the relationship between their effort and their growth over time (Growth Mindset).
- Develops each student’s ability to think critically about his or her own work (Metacognition).
- Encourages students to take risks that result in the development of new skills and deeper learning.
- Involves students in self-assessment of their progress toward standards and revision of their work throughout the teaching/learning process.
Grading and Feedback for the TEACHER
- Informs teachers about student progress toward learning targets so teachers can provide responsive instruction.
- Curriculum, instruction, and assessment/grading that enhances student learning in a target-based system typically includes:
- Frequent use of target-aligned formative assessments to guide teaching and learning through progress monitoring.
Frequent use of timely, quality feedback, and target-aligned rubrics that are communicated to, and understood by, the learner.
Grading and Reporting: NPS recognizes that formal grade reporting is necessary to provide summative information about student performance, and that information is used by various stakeholders.
The process of summative assessment and grade reporting has the following purposes:
- Apprise the student, parents, teaching staff and administration of how well the student meets prioritized standards in a grade level or course.
- Provides an official record of student performance to advise stakeholders about next steps in the student’s educational sequence (promotion, prerequisites, college admission, employers, etc.).
- Ensures grading and grades support and accurately measure student progress toward standards, grading practices throughout the district must be accurate, meaningful, and consistent.
Accuracy: NPS strives to ensure each student’s grades reflect achievement in relation to prioritized Nebraska College and Career Ready standards of which learning targets are derived. The following principles are applied to ensure accuracy of grading in a target based system:
- Giving priority to evidence related to the most important skills and knowledge as reflected in prioritized standards.
- Eliminate non-academic components from academic grading; separate feedback on effort, behavior, and attendance.
- Ensure grades are a reflection of individual, independent understanding.
- Ensure assessment items are aligned to prioritized targets with matching proficiency scales.
- Refrain from evaluating students in comparison to one another.
- Minimize the incorporation of outlier scores that distort the accuracy of a student’s attainment of standards.
Meaningful grading practices: NPS PLC uses grades that clearly communicate student progress toward prioritized standards to students, parents, and other stakeholders. NPS incorporates the following:
- Organized gradebooks and report cards to match learning targets.
- Provide timely feedback to students and parents to clarify and inform student progress.
- Ensure students have the opportunity to learn prioritized learning targets through aligned learning activities, appropriate practice and communication of proficiency scales.
Consistent grading practices: NPS PLC’s hold consistent expectations and clear communication across classrooms and grade-levels. The following principles can be used to ensure consistency when grading in a standards based system:
- Align grading practices to a common set of purposes and principles.
- Align rubric scores to proficiency scales.
- Clearly define and communicate expectations in relation to standards.
- Establish common grade or course grading practices.
- Collaborate to calibrate scoring tools to ensure reliable interpretation of student work as related to the standards.
- Utilize descriptive proficiency scales that consistently communicate student progress toward standards.
Q.4 How minimum competency testing can be useful at lower grades leves? Explain the benefits of using criterion references grading system in our education system.
MINIMUM COMPETENCY TESTING
Teachers face mounting public concern that education meet minimum standards of quality and produce evidence to show that these have been achieved. In many states and localities the form taken for demanding that these expectations be met is minimum competency testing. Rising costs of education in the face of revenue shortages, the publication of a number of studies showing declining test scores, and a growing concern that all young people leave high school equipped with basic academic skills, have added a tone of urgency to these demands.
The American Federation of Teachers believes that public expectations that the school produce at least minimum results deserve a responsible reaction from educators. We are sympathetic to public concern for the present academic performance of the children we teach in terms of their hopes for future success.
We believe that testing is one way to approach the performance issue, but that it must be used carefully and with strict limitations. We reject the myopic view of the National Education Association calling for a moratorium on the use of standardized norm-referenced tests as extreme and irresponsible. We are also critical of massive testing programs designed to determine high school graduation or grade promotion with test results alone. Since tests are a means to an end–the goal of quality education–they cannot be used as if they were an end in themselves.
Within this framework, the AFT endorses the following principles in relation to the use of minimum standards in testing programs:
- The use of a minimum competency test should provide one measure of student success in reaching a stated goal. It should not be the sole criterion of determining student progress. Minimum standards should be used along with grades, teacher judgment, course credits, attendance and other factors in making such decisions.
- Setting the minimum standard should not be based exclusively on either criterion referenced tests or standardized norm-referenced tests. Information taken from either test type alone is insufficient for this purpose.
- Grade equivalent scores should not be used to establish minimums at the same grade level since such scores involve the use of averages in defining “grade level.” A minimum based on grade level would automatically leave 50 percent in that grade failing to reach the minimum.
- Teachers must be involved in the development of minimum competency standards. No competency standards shall be developed without the involvement of the local bargaining unit.
- The establishment of minimum competency standards should not overshadow the need to encourage individual achievement at levels that reach much higher than the minimum.
- Tests should be used for other purposes than measuring minimum competency. Where appropriate tests are not available they should be developed for diagnostic purposes, for achievement measures above the minimum, and for other purposes.
The American Federation of Teachers finds elements in minimum competency testing that are potentially harmful and urges the following precautions:
- School accountability plans and teacher evaluation should not be based on student achievement or test results alone. Too many other factors contribute to student performance. Student motivation and the availability of learning resources are only two of the many factors that must be considered.
- The curriculum should not be designed to fit the tests. Tests should relate to the curriculum. Curriculum decisions belong to states and local school boards, and should not be abrogated to test publishers.
- If a minimum competency standard is set it should apply to all students within the state or locality affected.
- Test results alone should not be used as the basis for funding school programs.
- The establishment of testing programs should not be done at the expense of appropriate funding of other educational programs.
- Students should not qualify to leave high school early simply on the basis of passing a test. Course, grade, attendance and other requirements must also be fulfilled. Obtaining a high school education is a comprehensive experience that involves time, personal relationships and other factors and should not be cut short.
The AFT recognizes that much more must be done to insure the responsible use of test data in making educational decisions. Unless elected of tests. Even as we continue to use tests, educators must also insist on the following broader policies:
- the development of a “Truth in Testing Code” that would explain the proper uses, as well as misuses, of various tests;
- research and development related to new forms of assessment;
- a serious examination of possible causes of test score declines that may be school related. For example: less rigorous standards; confusion over appropriate methods of instructions; loss in the amount of time actually spent on learning and teaching; and a decline in programs for high achievers.
The American Federation of Teachers recognizes that any test policy will be complicated. We believe that minimum standards for educational accomplishment must be set, and met, if schools are to fulfill their responsibilities. Test development, and test use in relation to these standards, are part of what is required to develop an understanding of education’s successes that the public will respect.
Q.5 How the measure of dispersion (standard deviation and variance) may help to interpret the classroom performance in the context of high and low achievers?
Dispersion refers to the ‘distribution’ of objects over a large region. The degree to which numerical data are dispersed or squished around an average value is referred to as dispersion in statistics. It is, in a nutshell, the dispersion of data. A vast amount of data will always be widely dispersed or firmly packed. Data that is widely dispersed – 0, 30, 60, 90, 120, With tiny data grouped densely – 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4….
The term “dispersion” refers to how dispersed a set of data is. The measure of dispersion is always a non-negative real number that starts at zero when all the data is the same and rises as the data gets more varied. The homogeneity or heterogeneity of the scattered data is defined by dispersion measures. It also refers to how data differs from one another.
Measures of Dispersion
As the name suggests, the measure of dispersion shows the scatterings of the data. It tells the variation of the data from one another and gives a clear idea about the distribution of the data. The measure of dispersion shows the homogeneity or the heterogeneity of the distribution of the observations
Suppose you have four datasets of the same size and the mean is also the same, say, m. In all the cases the sum of the observations will be the same. Here, the measure of central tendency is not giving a clear and complete idea about the distribution for the four given sets. Can we get an idea about the distribution if we get to know about the dispersion of the observations from one another within and between the datasets? The main idea about the measure of dispersion is to get to know how the data are spread. It shows how much the data vary from their average value.
Characteristics of Measures of Dispersion
- A measure of dispersion should be rigidly defined
- It must be easy to calculate and understand
- Not affected much by the fluctuations of observations
- Based on all observations
Classification of Measures of Dispersion
The measure of dispersion is categorized as:
(i) An absolute measure of dispersion:
- The measures express the scattering of observation in terms of distances i.e., range, quartile deviation.
- The measure expresses the variations in terms of the average of deviations of observations like mean deviation and standard deviation.
(ii) A relative measure of dispersion:
We use a relative measure of dispersion for comparing distributions of two or more data set and for unit free comparison. They are the coefficient of range, the coefficient of mean deviation, the coefficient of quartile deviation, the coefficient of variation, and the coefficient of standard deviation.
Dispersion Measurement Types
The dispersion is constantly dependent on the observations and types of central tendency metrics used. The following are examples of dispersion measures:
- Deviation from the median
- Deviation from the mean
- Deviation from the mean
Range refers to the difference between each series’ minimum and maximum values. The range offers us a good indication of how dispersed the data is, but we need other measures of variability to discover the dispersion of data from central tendency measurements. A range is the most common and easily understandable measure of dispersion. It is the difference between two extreme observations of the data set. If X max and X min are the two extreme observations then
Range = X max – X min
Merits of Range
- It is the simplest of the measure of dispersion
- Easy to calculate
- Easy to understand
- Independent of change of origin
Demerits of Range
- It is based on two extreme observations. Hence, get affected by fluctuations
- A range is not a reliable measure of dispersion
- Dependent on change of scale
The quartiles divide a data set into quarters. The first quartile, (Q1) is the middle number between the smallest number and the median of the data. The second quartile, (Q2) is the median of the data set. The third quartile, (Q3) is the middle number between the median and the largest number.
Quartile deviation or semi-inter-quartile deviation is
Q = ½ × (Q3 – Q1)
Merits of Quartile Deviation
- All the drawbacks of Range are overcome by quartile deviation
- It uses half of the data
- Independent of change of origin
- The best measure of dispersion for open-end classification
Demerits of Quartile Deviation
- It ignores 50% of the data
- Dependent on change of scale
- Not a reliable measure of dispersion