09 SES 06 A, Issues in Linking Large-Scale-Assessments
Less than ten years ago, Austria introduced national assessments in grades 4 and 8, assessing the degree to which national education standards are reached by students (Bildungsstandardüberprüfung, “BIST-Ü”) and a standardized high school leaving exam (“Matura”) in academic schools grade 12, regulating access to University. The introduction of these assessments has been accompanied by heated discussions about educational goals, loss of academic freedom and the fear of “dumbing down” in the assessed subjects, specifically in schools leading to university access. On the other hand, students, parents and teachers complained about lack of preparation for the national high school leaving exam in grade 12, fearing high fail rates. Four years after the first national assessment in grade 8 in mathematics (2012), a considerable portion of the cohort has undergone the national high school leaving exam in 2016. Despite the tests being fundamentally different, we want to analyse the results for their possible relation: can we assume an overarching mathematics competence, allowing validation of the results of one assessment with the other? For both assessments, validity evidence is more arbitrary than stringent; so possible evidence for the interpretation (Hartig et al. 2008; Fellinger et al. 2016) coming from other, independent sources would represent a welcome finding. From a more practical viewpoint, the prediction power of one test four years ahead of the other could be of great interest for teachers, students and parents.
The aforementioned differences in the assessments comprise of slightly different mathematics frameworks, differences in the item formats used as well as different scoring routines. The most important difference is probably a characteristic of the test itself: the Matura represents a high stakes test (students are allowed university access or not), the BIST-Ü assessment, not giving any official certificate to students, is low-stakes for the test-takers. However, these two assessments represent the only standardized assessments available in Austria, which may be linked at least at school level.
Fellinger, R., Kiefer, T., Robitzsch, A., & Trendtel, M. (2016). Aspekte der Validierung. In S. Breit & C. Schreiner (Hrsg.), Large-Scale Assessment mit R. Methodische Grundlagen der österreichischen Bildungsstandardüberprüfung (S. 363-398). Wien: facultas. Hartig, J., Frey, A., & Jude, N. (2008). Validität. In H. Moosbrugger & A. Kevala (Hrsg.), Testtheorie und Fragebogenkonstruktion (S. 134-163). Berlin: Springer. Neuwirth, E. (2015). Was die Ergebnisse der Zentralmatura wirklich zeigen. Abgerufen am 21.12.2016, von http://www.neuwirth.priv.at/forblogs/BLErgebnisse.html) Schreiner, C., & Breit, S. (Hrsg.). (2012). Standardüberprüfung 2013 Mathematik, 8. Schulstufe. Bundesergebnisbericht. Salzburg: BIFIE. Zugriff unter https://www.bifie.at/system/files/dl/01_BiSt-UE_M8_2012_Bundesergebnisbericht.pdf
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