Distinguishing between students who guess and those who know

December 28, 2018, National Research University Higher School of Economics
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Measuring the knowledge of students in online courses poses a number of challenges. Researchers from the Higher School of Economics and the University of Leuven made improvements to the model for assessing academic achievements and published their results in the journal Heliyon.

Several systemic factors make it difficult for the developers of to assess student proficiency accurately. First, the average 10 to 15 test questions are too few to produce an accurate and reliable measure of . Second, the use of multiple-choice questions leads to guessing and a distortion of the results. Third, frequent use of the same set of correct answers as a measure of proficiency makes it difficult to compare students when the test is updated even slightly.

Researchers of the Higher School of Economics and the University of Leuven managed to solve these problems by expanding the classic Rasch model with additional parameters.

"First, our expanded approach includes the effect of multiple attempts, making it possible to distinguish between students who guess and those who know the answers," said HSE Centre for Psychometrics in eLearning Head Dmitry Abbakumov. "Second, because the knowledge metrics obtained with this expanded approach are expressed on a single scale, they can be compared, even when the test questions are changed significantly. And finally, we calculate metrics based not only on , but also by taking into account the student's experience—their activity when watching videos and performance in hands-on sessions—providing a more comprehensive understanding of the student's competence."

In the future, the proposed by the researchers could be used in assessment engines on educational platforms to obtain more accurate measurements of students' knowledge. And the metrics could be built into the navigation and recommendation solutions in digital education.

Explore further: Researchers suggest new model for measuring growth in students' proficiency in MOOCs

More information: Dmitry Abbakumov et al, Measuring student's proficiency in MOOCs: multiple attempts extensions for the Rasch model, Heliyon (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2018.e01003

Related Stories

Crowdsourcing can help create better science tests cheaper

August 31, 2016

When it comes to developing test questions, there's the ordinary way and the fancy way. The ordinary way is to just make up questions and put them on the test. However, this can lead to questions that are misleading, confusing, ...

Recommended for you

Coffee-based colloids for direct solar absorption

March 22, 2019

Solar energy is one of the most promising resources to help reduce fossil fuel consumption and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to power a sustainable future. Devices presently in use to convert solar energy into thermal ...

EPA adviser is promoting harmful ideas, scientists say

March 22, 2019

The Trump administration's reliance on industry-funded environmental specialists is again coming under fire, this time by researchers who say that Louis Anthony "Tony" Cox Jr., who leads a key Environmental Protection Agency ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.