Publication Details

Shulruf, B., Coombes, L., Damodaran, A., Freeman, A., Jones, P., Lieberman, S., Poole, P., Rhee, J., Wilkinson, T. & Harris, P. (2018). Cut-scores revisited: feasibility of a new method for group standard setting. BMC Medical Education, 18 (1), 126-1-126-8.


Background: Standard setting is one of the most contentious topics in educational measurement. Commonly-used methods all have well reported limitations. To date, there is not conclusive evidence suggesting which standard setting method yields the highest validity. Methods: The method described and piloted in this study asked expert judges to estimate the scores on a real MCQ examination that they consider indicated a clear pass, clear fail, and pass mark for the examination as a whole. The mean and SD of the judges responses to these estimates, Z scores and confidence intervals were used to derive the cut-score and the confidence in it. Results: In this example the new method's cut-score was higher than the judges' estimate. The method also yielded estimates of statistical error which determine the range of the acceptable cut-score and the estimated level of confidence one may have in the accuracy of that cut-score. Conclusions: This new standard-setting method offers some advances, and possibly advantages, in that the decisions being asked of judges are based on firmer constructs, and it takes into account variation among judges.



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