Campus Units

Education, School of, Statistics

Document Type

Article

Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date

Winter 2017

Journal or Book Title

Research and Practice in Assessment

Volume

12

First Page

28

Last Page

40

Abstract

Effective assessment practice requires clearly defining and operationalizing terminology. We illustrate the importance of this practice by focusing on academic “undermatching”—when students enroll in colleges that are less academically selective than those for which they are academically prepared. Undermatching has been viewed as a potential obstacle in the United States’ goal of increasing degree attainment but operationalizing undermatching is difficult. Using ELS: 2002, a national dataset from the U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics (NCES, 2014), we developed eight operationalizations of undermatching by altering three commonly used variables. We then compared the number and demographics of students who were identified as undermatched. Differences in operationalizations resulted in significant differences in undermatching by gender, race, parental education, and socioeconomic status. Results of this study illustrate the importance of the need to operationalize terminology used in assessment carefully and consistently.

Comments

This article is published as Gansemer-Topf, A.M., * Downey, J., & Genschel, U. (2017). Definitions matter: Investigating and comparing different operationalizations of academic undermatching. Research and Practice in Assessment, 12, 28-40. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

RPA: Research & Practice in Assessment

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

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