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ERIC Number: EJ1168682
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-2161-4210
Definitions Matter: Investigating and Comparing Different Operalionalizations of Academic Undermatching
Gansemer-Topf, Ann M.; Downey, Jillian; Genschel, Ulrike
Research & Practice in Assessment, v12 p28-40 Win 2017
Effective assessment practice requires clearly defining and operationalizing terminology. We illustrate the importance of this practice by focusing on academic "undermatching"--when students enroll in colleges that are less academically selective than those for which they are academically prepared. Undermatching has been viewed as a potential obstacle in the United States' goal of increasing degree attainment but operationalizing undermatching is difficult. Using ELS: 2002, a national dataset from the U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics (NCES, 2014), we developed eight operationalizations of undermatching by altering three commonly used variables. We then compared the number and demographics of students who were identified as undermatched. Differences in operationalizations resulted in significant differences in undermatching by gender, race, parental education, and socioeconomic status. Results of this study illustrate the importance of the need to operationalize terminology used in assessment carefully and consistently.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A