Results of the 2002–2010 lower secondary school leaving exams on a common scale
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The article presents the methodology and results of a survey on equating the lower secondary school examinations from 2002–2010. The survey was carried out by the Student Performance Analysis Unit at the Educational Research Institute. More than 10 000 students were selected for the equating study and information about more than 500 items was used. IRT models were used for equating exams, the results were presented on a latent variable scale and the observed score scale. Using this procedure, it was possible to isolate random difficulty variation between exam papers from specific years and present changes in ability level of students taking the exam. Based on the results, the level of humanities abilities of lower secondary school leavers was stable, whilst maths and science demonstrated a downward trend. Equating was validated by comparison with the results of the international PISA survey. Results for the arts and humanities were consistent with the PISA results for reading literacy. Maths and science, as compared with the PISA survey maths section demonstrated greater divergence.
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