Applications of the Flexilevel Test to Assessment in Higher Education
Pyper, Andrew Richard
The work reported in this dissertation investigates the potential for embedding Computerised Adaptive Testing (CAT) in students’ and tutors’ educational experiences. It seems that the tailored assessments that CAT can provide would be of real educational value in a range of contemporary Higher Education settings, however the resource requirements of some forms of CAT are prohibitive for making CAT assessments available to students across their studies. A form of CAT that is less resource intensive than other forms, the Flexilevel test, was selected for this programme of research to investigate its effectiveness in real educational contexts and explore possible applications for the approach. Ten empirical studies and a real data simulation study were conducted to test the effectiveness of the approach. It was found to show statistically significant correlations with other forms of assessment – in particular conventional Computer Based Testing (CBT) assessments, which is commonly used in contemporary educational settings. Another strand of work concerned the attitudes of stakeholders to the approach. Part of this work was carried out through the empirical studies, and further studies including interviews were also undertaken to explore the views of academic staff and students to the use of the Flexilevel test. Both groups were positive about the use of the Flexilevel test and this was taken to support the idea that academic staff and students would accept the use of the Flexilevel test in their educational experiences. In terms of both effectiveness and the acceptability of the approach to academic staff and students, the Flexilevel test was found to be a good candidate for embedding CAT in real educational contexts in Higher Education.