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ERIC Number: EJ957910
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 30
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1881
"Maybe I'm Not as Good as I Think I Am." How Qualification Users Interpret Their Examination Results
Chamberlain, Suzanne
Educational Research, v54 n1 p39-49 2012
Background: Assessment grades are "estimates" of ability or performance and there are many reasons why an awarded grade might not meet a candidate's expectations, being either better or poorer than anticipated. Although there may be some obvious reasons for grade discrepancies, such as a lack of preparation or under-performance, there are a number of technical issues to consider, such as the potential effects of random measurement error, human error and grade misclassification. However, traditionally, there has been limited information available to the public about such issues. Purpose: This study formed part of a two-year investigation into the reliability of public examination outcomes in England and the current paper explores participants' narratives relating to one of the themes that emerged from the study of public perceptions of assessment reliability. It examines how individuals interpreted and rationalised their examination results, particularly those that failed to meet expectations, and discusses the impact that such results may have on individuals' academic self-concept. Sample and method: Ten focus groups were conducted across five qualification user groups: two each with employees, employers, teachers, trainee teachers, and job-seekers (74 participants in total). A flexible discussion schedule was employed to explore participants' experiences and perceptions of assessment reliability. Main findings: Participants tended to internalise "blame" for results that were poorer than expected by constructing explanations that focused on a perceived lack of preparation, ability or knowledge. These experiences appeared to have a negative impact on individuals' academic self-concept. Secondary school teacher participants shared experiences of marking, technical and standard setting errors, and were more aware than other qualification user groups of the external factors that can impact on assessment outcomes. Conclusion: Examination results that are poorer than expected can threaten individuals' academic self-concept, confidence in their ability, and influence their study and career intentions and opportunities. A better understanding of educational measurement issues may offer individuals a more informed framework for understanding their examination results, especially where results do not meet expectations. (Contains 1 table and 1 note.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)