Comparative Analysis of Candidates’ Performances in the Pre and Post IRT Eras in JAMB: Case study of the Use of English in the 2012 and 2013 UTME

Comparative Analysis of Candidates’ Performances in the Pre and Post IRT Eras in JAMB: Case study of the Use of English in the 2012 and 2013 UTME

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Comparative Analysis of Candidates’ Performances in the Pre and Post IRT Eras in JAMB: Case study of the Use of English in the 2012 and 2013 UTME

Two major test theories categorized under traditional and modern test theories exist for educational test and measurement. These are Classical Test Theory (CTT) and Item Response Theory (IRT). CTT focuses primarily on test as a whole while IRT focuses on the item-level as the name implies. The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), mandated by law to conduct the UTME, a high-stake examination for entry into the tertiary institutions in Nigeria used the CTT in its Universities Matriculation Examination (UME) until 2010. Thereafter, it embraced the IRT for its Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and began actual application in 2013 with the introduction of the Computer Based Test (CBT) as a mode of examination delivery. The purpose of this paper is to examine the empirical relationship between CTT and IRT eras in JAMB to ascertain impact of both theories on performances of repeaters and on JAMB assessment practices in the 2012 and 2013 UTME Use of English (UOE) Language paper. The study employed the ex-post facto design. The Population was made up of candidates who sat for the 2012 UTME and repeated in 2013. A sample size of 100,000 candidates who had scores in both years was randomly selected and analysis carried out using ANOVA, Chi-Square, Microsoft Excel software and X-Calibre. Results revealed a significant improvement on the performances of candidates who repeated the examination in 2013 over those of the 2012 in the UTME UOE. The paper, therefore, recommends the application of IRT for making valid judgments on quality of items to be used by the examinees.

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