On September 27, 2019, Iris Yocarini will defend her thesis Testing in Higher Education: Decisions on students’ performance.
In higher education curricula, students’ performance is continuously evaluated by administering tests. Students’ performance is estimated using these tests, based on which different decisions are made. The aim of this dissertation is to evaluate these decisions and assess their accuracy using simulation studies. The first part of the dissertation focusses on decisions made at the curriculum level, where tests are combined to determine whether students are allowed to continue their studies in an academic dismissal policy (in Dutch, the so-called binding study advice; BSA). Results show that allowing compensation within the BSA, where students are allowed to compensate within boundaries a failing grade on one course with a passing grade on another course, results in relatively more false positives than false negatives compared to traditional decision rules in which students should pass each individual course. Whether the compensatory decision rule is more accurate depends on the specific requirements and the tests that are combined. Allowing compensation is further studied by evaluating performance on a second-year sequel course when students were allowed to compensate the first-year precursor course. Results show that compensating the precursor course relates to low performance on the sequel course for students with overall low performance. The second part of the dissertation focuses on decisions made at the course level, evaluating possible methods to correct for guessing and methods to assign grades to test scores on individual tests. Both studies show that estimation of students’ performance might in certain situations be improved by incorporating some overall sample information.
Prof. Lidia Arends, Dr Samantha Bouwmeester & Dr. Guus Smeets
Erasmus University Rotterdam