Saturday, October 27, 2012

2012 Oct 28 | Judith Runnels | Rasch for the Masses

This month the Nagasaki JALT Chapter meeting was a Rasch workshop given by Judith Runnels of Hiroshima Bunkyo Women's University.  The title of the lecture was "Rasch for the Masses".  She also spent a small part at the end of the meeting discussing an entirely different topic involving a Self-Access Learning Center that her university commissioned.  The sub-topic was titled "Crafts in a Self-access Learning Centre."  This post serves as the meeting minutes and some notes from the presentation.
Judith Runnels is from Canada.  She has been teaching in China, Korea and Japan for the past 7 years.  She is currently employed at Hiroshima Bunkyo Women's University and has two topics of presentation for today.  Below are some of the minutes from the talks.

Rasch Analysis Workshop (1 hour 40 minutes)

The first part of the meeting taking the majority of the time was an interactive workshop on using Rasch Assessment and Evaluation for measuring the accuracy of tests.

What is Rasch Analysis? - Statistical Assessment Evaluation without Statistics

What makes a bad test?  For example: a pop quiz - the surprise element - high pressure teacher over the student.  Unclear grading assessment and evaluation.  A test not in line with curriculum or practice.  Some never feel like the test is adequate.  Group or individual grading.  Unrealistic time limit or constraints. A test where the inter-rater reliability is not good.

Rasch allows you to measure the validity of any given test in order to help to analyze tests.

Rasch is 30 years old or more however only in the last 10 years has it become popular.  Some of the things Rasch has been used for include the following:

  • Tests

  • Surveys

  • Fields: Psychometrics, Testing and evaluation,

  • Market research

  • Heath and medical
Once you learn to interpret results, Rasch lets you pinpoint problem areas in any test an make modifications based on those interpretations.

The formula for Rasch is as follows:  log [pni / (1 - pni)] = Bn - Di(1)  where Bn is the ability of the person and Di is the difficulty of the item.

We proceeded to practice making a Rasch analysis on some sample data that Ms. Runnels provided for the workshop.  It was interesting to see the results and then compare those results with actual questions on a sample test which pointed to the issues identified.

Self-Access Learning Centre  (15 minutes)

The final bits of the discussion were spent on the Self-Access Learning Center (SALC) at Ms. Runnels university.  Her institution purchased a system from Kanda University which is renowned for their self-access learning center.  Basically, this is a self-access lounge for English learning in addition to their regular classes.

The SALC is staffed with learning advisors.  They don't tell the students how to learn, just help them develop their own learning style.  The SALC is an English-only zone.

In order to encourage participation (which is initially not high) the facilitators make use of SALC activities to guide the students into the activities, but that defeats the concept of Self-Access since it is no longer a voluntary activity.

However, the concept of a place where students can go to immerse themselves in English and get help or develop plans for improving their English communication skills is in theory an excellent idea.

----- Announcements ----

The first part of the meeting involved some Chapter business.  Our long standing Membership Chair - Sergio Mazzarelli will officially retire his duties as membership chair.  Thanks for your service to the Chapter, Sergio!  The new Membership Chair will be Mr. Joel Hensley of Seibold University of Nagasaki.  Welcome, Joel, and thanks for taking up the torch.
Our president, Karen Masatsugu, next announced the guest speaker for the meeting.