DIAGNOSTIC TESTING – A TALE OF TWO INITIATIVES
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DIAGNOSTIC TESTING – A TALE OF TWO INITIATIVES Using diagnostic tests to assist in widening access and (ii) post hoc curriculum design NAN YELD. Selected TIMSS 1999 performance indicators. 69 %. Note 1: South Africa scored the lowest of this group.

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Diagnostic testing a tale of two initiatives using diagnostic tests to assist in


Diagnostic testing a tale of two initiatives using diagnostic tests to assist in

Selected TIMSS 1999 performance indicators

69 %

Note 1: South Africa scored the lowest of this group.



In a higher education context students are required to
In a higher education context, students are required to:

  • Make meaning from what they read;

  • Understand and interpret conceptual and metaphorical language;

  • Identify and track academic argument;

  • Follow discourse structure in text;

  • Make inferences about and extrapolate on what they read;

  • Demonstrate familiarity with and understanding of the conventions of visual literacies, such as reading and interpreting graphs, flow-charts and diagrams; and

  • Cope with basic numeracy demands.


Diagnostic testing a tale of two initiatives using diagnostic tests to assist in
Getting to grips with these requirements is seriously impeded by approaches to texts and epistemic practice such as:

  • A tendency towards verbatim reproduction or plagiarism in essays

  • A tendency to describe rather than analyse, and to offer tautologies in place of justification

  • A tendency to focus on examples (tokens) rather than on principles (types), and the relation between them

  • A tendency to write from a highly subjective viewpoint without depersonalising

  • A tendency to be prescriptive or normative when asked to be analytic

    (Slonimsky and Shalem 2005)


Diagnostic testing a tale of two initiatives using diagnostic tests to assist in

Assessing the effectiveness of the scaffolding approach impeded by approaches to texts and epistemic practice such as:

Did the approach provide a greater range of scores (spread), so that capable students could be more clearly differentiated from weaker students?

Did the approach increase the predictive validity of the test (that is, did the test correctly distinguish between weaker and stronger students)?

Did the approach improve (raise) the level of stronger students’ scores?


Diagnostic testing a tale of two initiatives using diagnostic tests to assist in

ELPT and ALPT Scores impeded by approaches to texts and epistemic practice such as:


Diagnostic testing a tale of two initiatives using diagnostic tests to assist in

Task Preparation Study impeded by approaches to texts and epistemic practice such as:

Question 6.1: In note form (i.e. not full sentences), list the main points the author makes about the Japanese educational system. For this exercise, do not include comparisons or references to the American system.

Question 6.2: Drawing on the text of the whole article, but using your own words, summarise the points the author makes about the Japanese system of education. Note: your summary should not include comparisons or references to the American system.


Diagnostic testing a tale of two initiatives using diagnostic tests to assist in

ASSUMPTIONS UNDERLYING EXIT-LEVEL TESTING PROJECT impeded by approaches to texts and epistemic practice such as:

  • By and large, and with many notable exceptions, academics …. do not take seriously/ are not well informed about / are not very interested in …. information about the learning needs of incoming students.

  • Academics are more likely to take information about the learning needs of their students seriously if these needs are demonstrably still present in the students they are about to graduate.

  • 3 In order to demonstrate these needs, a valid and credible (and feasible) instrument is needed.


Diagnostic testing a tale of two initiatives using diagnostic tests to assist in

  • By and large, academics …. do not take seriously/ are not well informed about / are not very interested in …. information about the learning needs of incoming students. Why might this be so?

  • They believe it would be lowering standards to ‘pander to’ needs?

  • They believe it’s the responsibility of the schooling sector to prepare students, not theirs?

  • They assume that massification will entail higher failure rates, it’s “only natural”?

  • They are really only interested in students who will be majoring in their disciplines, and so it’s the survivors from the first-year shakedown that they are focused on?

  • Because doing so requires a shift from an inward looking, introjected orientation, to an outward looking, ‘projective’ orientation (Barnett 2000), and a willingness to negotiate curricula across departmental boundaries?

  • The outsider status of those providing the information?


Diagnostic testing a tale of two initiatives using diagnostic tests to assist in

DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS well informed about / are not very interested in …. information about the learning needs of incoming students.


Diagnostic testing a tale of two initiatives using diagnostic tests to assist in

Skill cluster descriptions (examples) well informed about / are not very interested in …. information about the learning needs of incoming students.

Cliff, A., Hanslo, M. and Visser, A-J. (2003). Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment: AARP tests and first-year students’ academic performance for the 2002/3 cycles. Unpublished report: University of Cape Town, December 2003.


References
REFERENCES well informed about / are not very interested in …. information about the learning needs of incoming students.

  • Barnett, R. (2000). Supercomplexity and the curriculum. Studies in Higher Education, 25, 255-2665.

  • Cliff, A., Hanslo, M. and Visser, A-J. (2003). Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment: AARP tests and first-year students’ academic performance for the 2002/3 cycles. Unpublished report: University of Cape Town, December 2003.

  • Slonimsky, L. and Shalem, Y. (2004). Pedagogic responsiveness for academic depth. In Griesel, H. (Ed.)(2004). Curriculum responsiveness – case studies in higher education. South African Universities Vice-Chancellors’ Association: Pretoria, 81 - 101.