THE FEASIBILITY OF ONLINE ASSESSMENT OF STUDENTS’ INDUCTIVE REASONING SKILLS ABILITIES IN NAMIBIA
In recent years, a large number of studies have highlighted the importance and benefits of computer-based assessment. A broad range of instruments, including observation protocol, tests and item banks, are available which can be used to assess different aspects of general cognitive development including reasoning skills which learners are expected to master at school.
The goal of this study was:
(1) to examine the feasibility and reliability of computer-based assessment in Namibia,
(2) to examine the students’ abilities and development of inductive reasoning, which developmental level strongly influences the success of knowledge acquisition and application, the effectiveness of learning.
The data collection was conducted in Namibia (N=621; 268 boys; 348 girls) via the Electronic Diagnostics Assessment (eDia) platform. The participants’ age average was 12-years-old. The assessment instrument had 56 items. The test had four sub-constructs, which are figural series reasoning, figural analogy reasoning, number analogy reasoning and number series reasoning. The internal consistency reliability was high (Cronbach's α: 0.87). The means and standard deviations for students’ performance in the assessments are M=25.94% SD=12.33%, which is seemingly below the 50% pass mark in Namibia. The results showed a significant difference in performance between grades (7th graders; M=17.9; 5th graders; M=12.3, (t =9.458; p<.001). Boys performed statistically significantly better than the girls at (t =1.972; p<.05). The results also indicate strong positive correlations between the four sub-constructs. Rasch model was carried out for scaling the data and analysis. Students performed significantly low in the test (-1.38, SD=.84). There was no significant development detectable between grade 5 and 7 in Namibia (t=1.822, p>.05), which means Namibian students do not have explicit inductive reasoning training in this age-range at school, however, this is the age, when almost the fastest development should occur regarding thinking and reasoning skills. The results suggested that computer-based assessment is feasible and reliable in both Namibia, although it was the first time such test is conducted. Since it was the first time the inductive reasoning test is conducted in Namibia, we used a small sample data from China as a benchmark for our study. This is because China has always performed well in the international assessment programs, such as Program for international Students’ Assessment (PISA), Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), which Namibia is yet to take part in such programs.
The results showed that Namibian students’ inductive reasoning skills are far below the developmental level compared to that of Chinese students and is not explicitly enhanced at school, which must be a very important task for the future in the Namibian primary education.