Educational Assessment in a Time of Reform : Standards and Standard Setting for Excellence in Education book cover
1st Edition

Educational Assessment in a Time of Reform
Standards and Standard Setting for Excellence in Education

ISBN 9781032085128
Published June 30, 2021 by Routledge
156 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Educational Assessment in a Time of Reform provides background information on large-scale examination systems more generally and the South African examination specifically. It traces the reforms in the education system of South Africa since 1994 and provides a description of the advances in modern test theory that could be considered for future standard setting endeavours.

At the heart of the book is the debate on whether the current standard of education in Africa is good enough . If not, then how can it be improved? The aim of this book is to provide a point of departure for discussions on standard-setting, quality assurance, equating of examinations and assessment approaches. From this point of departure recommendations for practices in general and the exit-level (Grade 12) examination results in particular can be made.

This book is ideal reading for principals, teachers, academics and researchers in the fields of educational assessment, measurement, and evaluation.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Background and introduction

Historical context

Aim and objectives of the book

Systems theory as a conceptual framework


Chapter 2 Background to large-scale examination systems


Designing large-scale examination systems

Examples of large-scale examination systems



Chapter 3 Perspectives on education assessment reform

Standards-based education reform (SBER)

Education assessment reform versus the complexity of assessment standards and academic performance



Chapter 4 Equating examinations and assessment standards in the South African context


Equating high-stakes examinations and testing

The history of equating Grade 12 examination marks in South Africa

Norm-referenced assessment

Transition from the Senior Certificate (SC) to the new National Curriculum Statement (NCS)

Research related to the comparability of curriculum and assessment demands of the NCS

Standardising the new NCS results


Chapter 5 The management and quality assurance of school-based assessment in South Africa


Social moderation

The low reliability of school-based assessment

Statistical moderation of school-based assessment (SBA) marks

Statistical moderation

Calculation of the subject promotion mark



Chapter 6 Using examination and assessment scores: Different ways of reporting performance


Different ways of reporting performance

Reporting performance is directly related to the type and purpose of the test

Reporting standards on tests

Measuring continuous school-based assessment

Comparing results over time – how to measure improvement

Strategies for interpreting data

Working with examinations and assessment data



Chapter 7 Rethinking standard setting: Drawing from advances in modern test theory


Understanding classical test theory

Introduction to item response theory (IRT)

The one-parameter model

The two-parameter model

The three-parameter model

Introduction to Rasch-measurement

Standard setting methods Traditional methods and methods drawing on modern test theory

Linking and equating in modern test theory: Possibilities for linking examinations across years



Chapter 8 Item banking and computer adaptive testing


Computer adaptive testing (CAT)

System design and operations

Item pool development and testing

Item response theory and calibration

Test equating

Reliability and measurement precision


Advantages and disadvantages of computer adaptive testing

Definition and development of item banks

Procedure for preparing an item bank

Advantages and disadvantages of item banks

Validity and reliability considerations



Chapter 9 Developing a computerised system for large scale computer adaptive testing (CAT)


Performance benchmarks

Design requirements and electronic platform

Design logic of a cat-system for the NCS (Grade 12)

System technology and functionality standards



Chapter 10 Educational assessment in a time of reform: Where to from here?


Thinking about examination systems within a 21st century skills framework

Making use of modern psychometric theory

Thinking about moving towards incorporating mixed methods approaches

Concluding remarks


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Coert Loock is a professor at Department of Education Leadership and Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Vanessa Scherman is a professor at Department of Psychology of Education, University of South Africa, South Africa.