Tests are not only used to determine the level of understanding of a subject matter but also serve as a discriminator to place students, scholars or other individuals according to the criteria that the testing body sets. Therefore, each examination is designed according to the objectives that are set to be met. In the book, an example is given of how a medical entrance exam would have a higher level of difficulty due to the small numbers that are accepted while a test to select students for educable mentally challenged would have a much lower level of difficulty. The greater inclusion of easy questions in the latter is to make finer discrimination among the larger pool of participants.
The text describes texts or examinations as being inherently discriminatory to select or differentiate between individuals having different qualities and varying degrees of skill level for any given trade. However, text discriminations vary between different methods of assessment over the targeted group that would most likely get the questions correct. The extreme group method makes a comparison between the low scoring participants and those students with high test scores usually in the top 33% of the class.
The number of top achievers who got a particular answer correct is then subtracted to the lower ranked students to answer correctly to determine the discrimination index. In the item response theory, the score in an assessment is derived from the addition of correct responses against the larger sample for the class under study. As a whole, assessment does not judge a student in isolation but always measures one's performance vis a vis those of others. Therefore, a score in a test is relative and abstract in the description and only counts when compared to others.
Test administration has a bearing on the performance of students in assessments in addition to their ability. The chapter set off to assess the effect that exam administration has on the student scores that are achieved factoring in exam administration. A test on average IQ students in the 5th to 9th grade determined that students under enhanced rapport conditions generally achieved a considerable higher test score as compared to those of the same ability invigilated by a neutral administrator. The difference in IQ was calculated to be 13 points which are quite considerable to indicate that the relationship between the students and invigilator affects the test scores.
In another context that further reinforces the relationship, in attitudinal surveys, respondents recorded giving responses that were affected by the perception of the participant to the interviewer. A case in point is the interviews contacted by telephone where the responses of the target recipient are affected by the cues that they take perceiving the age or sex of the interviewer. Because of such biases, individual have over time wanted their children to be interviewed by members of their race even though this has been debunked on having any effect on the quality or type of responses given by respondents. One proven way of removing biases associated with race or sex of interviewers is the adoption of a universal procedure in seeking answers studies or tests.
The discretion of interviewers has to be restricted to reduce the biases that it is associated with it while also implementing a uniform method of interviewer training. Biases also arise when expectations are put on a subject and thus, they respond within the boundaries of those expectations. Use of technology will however help in reducing the level of interviewer effect according to the chapter even though individuals set computer questions. In my opinion, the adoption of technology and computing will only pepper over cracks.
Chapter eight goes into depth about interviewing techniques and how they affect the responses within a discussion. The interviewers' tone and attitude affect the quality of the process and have to employ best practices when engaging a respondent. The structure of an interview conducted has to adhere to the goals and objectives being sought. In a structured interview used for employment opportunities, respondents are required to answer questions to determine their educational level while diagnostic interview let the respondent determine the course of the interview.
Previously, I was of the opinion that both sets of interviews are employed in an exchangeable fashion not only to gauge educational competencies but also determine the character traits and personalities that match a particular vacancy. Interviews are similar to tests in that both are assessments that seek to differentiate individuals in choosing who best fits a particular role or vacancy. Therefore, interviewers affect the performance of an interviewee with a more rigorous interview leading to the latter responding in kind and following the tone set by the former. As a result, a good interviewer will set relaxed conditions and tone to obtain as much information as possible about the interviewee.
The chapter determines that a session was rated poorly if the interviewee perceived the interviewer to be cold, disinterested or hostile towards them, the opposite is true. A great attribute of the process was noted as being able to keep the conversation going as a dialogue and not a monologue. Unlike my previous notions, a simple yes or no answer is never adequate to answer a question and needs a follow not unless instructions say otherwise.
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