PRELIMINARY RESULTS OF AN ITEM BANK TO MEASURE KNOWLEDGE IN UNIVERSITY STUDENTS

M. Cupani1, F.D. Cortez1, O.M. Lozano Rojas2

1Universidad Nacional de Cordoba, Facultad de Psicología (ARGENTINA)
2Universidad de Huelva, Departamento de Psicología Clínica, Experimental y Social (SPAIN)
Educational measurement is regarded as empirical, quantitative and, on a large scale, as having the main purpose of controlling educational systems (Long, Wendt, & Dunne, 2011). These evaluation systems can give the institutions the opportunity to measure their own progress year after year in compliance with the standards set by government agencies (Garbanzo Vargas, 2007) and can also assess the quality of educators' training (Popham, 2001). In addition, these evaluation systems are used for university admission, certification, monitoring, and diagnosis of student’s learning (Eggen, 2011). In other words, the evaluation of academic performance is a very important issue for parents, teachers and the Government (Novak, Mintzes, & Wandersee, 2000). An accurate measurement plays a very important role in the evaluation of academic success and, therefore, the development of analytical methods has advanced greatly in recent years (Törmäkangas, 2011). In Argentina there are currently no standarized instruments to assess academic performance of university students. The aim of this article was to develop an Item Bank for General Knowledge Test composed by twenty specific domains of knowledge. Considering that an effective construction of a test requires organization and systematization of activites, progress in five domains are presented. The sample was composed by 4.470 university students. The items were organized in different forms and into separate subtests, with some common items across subtests. Evaluation of Rasch model fit (infit<1.3), differential item functioning, dimensionality, local independence, item and person separation (>2.0), and reliability (>.80) resulted in a bank of items with good psychometric properties. The bank provides items with a wide range of content coverage and may serve as a sound basis for computerized adaptive testing applications. Among the benefits offered by this Bank of Ítems is the adequacy of the curriculum to the requirements and needs of students (Fuentes Navarro, 2004). That is to say, teaching would be favored if the contents and the difficulty of the instruction are in accordance with the subject's knowledge and skills, optimizing the teaching process (Rolfhus & Ackerman, 1999). Likewise, this evaluation would enable the evaluation of the quality of educators' instruction (Popham, 2001). Finally, evaluation may also be based on criteria for quality control and effectiveness of the educational policies adopted (Martínez Rizo, 2009). In this way to have a correctly elaborated measurement tool, would represent an advance in the evaluation of the learning of the educational systems (Arias, 2006). The contribution of this work is significant in the field of educational assessment in Argentina.