Exploring the World of Psychometrics: improving the educational outcomes for Pacific students

Noumea

Psychometric analysis is now increasingly being employed by Pacific Island countries to analyse student assessments and report on the key areas of education identified by the national governments of the region.

To improve the standard of reporting using psychometric tools in the Pacific’s education realm, the Pacific Community (SPC) is supporting the region in growing expertise in psychometric assessment and analysis.

An inaugural sub-regional workshop focussed on introducing participants to key concepts including the Rasch Model, Item Response Theory (IRT), and various IRT software. The workshop allowed participants to gain basic knowledge and application of using psychometric analysis software in their national assessments.

Adrian Alamu, SPC’s Education Assessment Officer, explained that the “test developments in the region are largely built on traditional methods or known as the Classical Test Theory which has been the practice in our educational assessment systems in the region”.

During the workshop, participants (including current and future practitioners of IRT analysis), from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu were provided with a clear understanding of the concepts that underpin psychometric analysis and the practical application of IRT and how it can be employed to enhance assessment processes.

“Technical elements of the work include application of coding which is a crucial aspect of psychometrics. Coding serves as the foundation for efficient data management and analysis, ensuring accurate results. Participants delved into the intricacies of formatting data for analysis, a critical step that lays the groundwork for robust insights,” explained Alamu.

The 3-day workshop has provided the participants with the knowledge to apply basic psychometric analysis, including the use of IRT software and interpretation of the analysis outputs to their national-level large-scale assessments.

With a focus on sustainability and capacity building, this workshop marks a significant step towards enhancing assessment practices in member countries. As participants continue to explore the intricacies of psychometric analysis, the educational landscape in the region is poised to witness positive transformations. 

SPC will be hosting a larger regional psychometrics workshop in July 2024 to further enhance the region’s knowledge and skills in applying psychometric analysis in their large-scale assessments programmes. The impact of this training will be monitored in the regional assessments administered by SPC in 2025.

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Division
Educational Quality and Assessment
Suva Regional Office
Melanesia Regional Office
Polynesia Regional Office

Author(s)

Sonal Aujla

Communications and Visibility Officer, Educational Quality and Assessment Programme (EQAP), Pacific Community (SPC)
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Polynesia Regional Office
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Educational Quality and Assessment
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Fiji
Papua New Guinea
Samoa
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Vanuatu