In order to ensure that all examinations questions are of a particular standard and quality, multiple choice questions are currently validated by pretesting at certain times during the school year, while constructed response questions are quality assured by content specialists, who review the questions. While both approaches have worked over the years, they have limitations. Some of the challenges with the current model include: sourcing private candidates and getting school candidates who are as motivated as they would be for a live examination; cost and logistics of administering and marking the pre-tests; and disruption to the school routine to administer the pre-tests.
In an effort to satisfy its renewed commitment to utilize robust (pre-tested) items from a well maintained bank for its examinations, CXC has explored several options for validating items and is proposing to use a methodology that is tried and tested and in use by other large testing systems.
What is live pretesting?
This approach is known as live pretesting and it involves the integration of pretest questions on tests that count towards certification. The pretest questions can either be added to the live test questions and testing time be increased, or, pretest questions can be substituted for some operational test questions and the test be done in the usual time.
CXC proposes to pilot both approaches in 2018 by substituting pretest items on one CSEC multiple choice paper and adding new multiple choice questions to one CAPE paper and proportionately increasing the testing time. In both cases, no more than six questions will be added to the multiple choice papers.
In 2019, CXC will pilot of live pretesting on constructed-response papers using similar approaches and the lessons learned in 2018.
Ultimately, these approaches will result in better quality examinations for the region’s students.