Validation of a free response test of deep learning about the normal swallowing process

Research paper by Ingrid Scholten, John P. Keeves, Michael J. Lawson

Indexed on: 01 Sep '02Published on: 01 Sep '02Published in: Higher Education


A test of core knowledge within a healthsciences topic was developed and validatedusing the partial credit model of Raschanalysis (Masters 1982). The SOLO Taxonomy(Biggs and Collis 1982) was used as thetheoretical basis to determine speech pathologystudents' depth of understanding of keyfeatures of a complex physiological process(swallowing) as depicted in their writtendescriptions. Rasch analysis revealed thosefeatures that fitted the empirical model andthose that needed to be revised or discarded.Students' mastery of the retained features wasused to calibrate scaled scores that could beemployed for a variety of comparative purposes.This study provides evidence that use of theSOLO Taxonomy can be extended to provideprecise and reliable quantitative scores.Consequently valid tests of student knowledgein a range of distinct topic areas can bedesigned to reflect both the quality of studentlearning as well as its quantity, a featurethat offers potential for assessment ingeneral.