Quality assurance: Asking the right questions

Examinations and evaluations of performance used in universities and schools are usually high-stakes assessments. Those responsible for such assessments usually try to ensure that the tasks set as part of such assessments are of high quality, that the tasks represent a balance of relevant content, and that, as far as is possible, each candidate has a fair chance to respond to the tasks and to receive due credit for the responses. Improving the quality of assessments is taken very seriously. IAEA, ACEAB and development agencies such as World Bank, Asian Development Bank and UNESCO have invested considerable resources in conferences, training workshops, consultancies and publications relating to quality assessment. But unless one asks the right questions, those making assessment decisions may, in fact, be threatening the validity and quality of the assessments. In this paper I propose to show how some decisions about assessment strategies threaten the quality of those assessments, using analyses of actual examinations data. Practical advice on how to avoid these threats will be provided in the paper.


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  • July 21, 2018 Create Date
  • July 21, 2018 Last Updated