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

Educational Assessment in a Time of Reform

Standards and Standard Setting for Excellence in Education, 1st Edition

Edited by Coert Loock, Vanessa Scherman


184 pages | 16 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138394223
pub: 2019-12-09
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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 theheart 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



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 dataConclusion


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


Introduction to item response theory (IRT)

Introduction to Rasch-measurement

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

Different standards setting methods

Standard setting using 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


About the Editors

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

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

About the Series

Perspectives on Education in Africa

The African continent is at a crucial moment in its history. Conflicts, political disappointments, developmental difficulties and poverty issues are well disseminated by the international media, but it also has a promising demography and hopeful economic growth. Education is at the heart of the challenges facing the continent, and research into Africa’s 21st century potential is of increasing interest to international scholars and policymakers alike.

This series aims to examine institutions regarded as fundamental in helping African countries face major challenges across the Continent. It seeks to offer tools for analysing, understanding and decision-making concerning contemporary issues of education in Africa. Believing that perspectives should not be observed, analysed and strategized from outside, the series draws on local knowledge and experience, promoting interaction between African and non-African scholars in order to explore the implications for the future, and the ways in which education in Africa can be enhanced, influenced and developed.

Learn more…

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