Tutor assessment of PBL process: does tutor variability affect objectivity and reliability?

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Title: Tutor assessment of PBL process: does tutor variability affect objectivity and reliability?
Author: Sa, Bidyadhar; Ezenwaka, Chidum; Singh, Keerti; Vuma, Sehlule; Majumder, Md. Anwarul A
Abstract: Abstract Background Ensuring objectivity and maintaining reliability are necessary in order to consider any form of assessment valid. Evaluation of students in Problem-Based Learning (PBL) tutorials by the tutors has drawn the attention of critiques citing many challenges and limitations. The aim of this study was to determine the extent of tutor variability in assessing the PBL process in the Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, St Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago. Method All 181 students of year 3 MBBS were assigned randomly to 14 PBL groups. Out of 18 tutors, 12 had an opportunity to assess three groups: one assessed 2 groups and 4 tutors assessed one group each; at the end each group had been assessed three times by different tutors. The tutors used a PBL assessment rating scale of 12 different criteria on a six-point scale to assess each PBL Group. To test the stated hypotheses, independent t-test, one-way ANOVA followed by post-hoc Bonferroni test, Intra Class Correlation, and Pearson product moment correlations were performed. Result The analysis revealed significant differences between the highest- and lowest-rated groups (t-ratio = 12.64; p < 0.05) and between the most lenient and most stringent raters (t-ratio = 27.96; p < 0.05). ANOVA and post-hoc analysis for highest and lowest rated groups revealed that lenient- and stringent-raters significantly contribute (p < 0.01) in diluting the score in their respective category. The intra class correlations (ICC) among rating of different tutors for different groups showed low agreement among various ratings except three groups (Groups 6, 8 and 13) (r = 0.40). The correlation between tutors’ PBL experiences and their mean ratings was found to be moderately significant (r = 0.52; p > 0.05). Conclusion Leniency and stringency factors amongst raters affect objectivity and reliability to a great extent as is evident from the present study. Thus, more rigorous training in the areas of principles of assessment for the tutors are recommended. Moreover, putting that knowledge into practice to overcome the leniency and stringency factors is essential.
URI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-019-1508-z
http://hdl.handle.net/2139/46633
Date: 2019-03-08


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