Identification of Underachievers using a Common Scale

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Identification of Underachievers using a Common Scale

Underachievement is wastage of human capital in the long run. Timely and accurate identification of underachievers, coupled with early intervention will go a long way to allow thestudents to achieve their full potential in life. On the most general level, underachievement is defined as a discrepancy between ability and expected performance. Data on student academic performance in their school Semestral Assessment (SA) was often used to identify students who underachieved in their academic performances. This was conceivable when analysis was conducted at individual school level where students sat for the same SA paper. However, when analysis was conducted at the national level involving many schools, the approach became problematic because the SA papers from different schools were of different standards and hence not comparable. In this study, the method of Rasch Analysis was employed to calibrate test scores of different SA papers from different schools onto a common scale using a common anchor for all the schools. The study assessed the reliability and validity of the common scale used to identify Year 8 underachievers across the different schools.While data on mathematics raw scores showed moderate correlation of 0.69 between Year 7 and Year 8 mathematics, the aligned common scales derived from the raw scores showed high correlation of 0.92 between the two years, indicating the common scales were more reliable and better predicted ,achievement for use in identification of underachievement in mathematics.

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