Chủ Nhật, ngày 31 tháng 8 năm 2008

Tiêu chuẩn, tiêu chí, chuẩn mực

Trong cuộc tranh luận về đại học đẳng cấp quốc tế và chất lượng trường đại học, những cụm từ sau đây thường được sử dụng: tiêu chuẩn (quốc tế), tiêu chí (chất lượng), chuẩn mực (quốc tế), giá trị (đại học). Nhưng dường như những từ này chỉ được dùng theo thói quen (nghe thuận tai là được) mà chưa được định nghĩa rõ ràng, và vì vậy đôi khi tạo ra những khó khăn trong việc trao đổi ý kiến, và những tranh cãi không cần thiết. Để giúp cho các cuộc tranh luận này được dễ dàng hơn, dưới đây là những giải thích các từ tương đương của các từ nói trên trong tiếng Anh.

Theo từ điển Mariam-Webster (online:www.merriam-webster.com), thì sự khác biệt giữa standard (tiêu chuẩn) và criterion (tiêu chí) như sau:

"standard applies to any definite rule, principle, or measure established by authority "

"criterion may apply to anything used as a test of quality whether formulated as a rule or principle or not (questioned the critic's criteria for excellence)".

Trong khi đó, norm (chuẩn mực) có khi cũng được dùng với nghĩa tiêu chuẩn mẫu mực (model, authoritative standard), nhưng thông thường hơn là những nghĩa sau:

"a principle of right action binding upon the members of a group and serving to guide, control, or regulate proper and acceptable behavior"

hoặc "average, as (a): a set standard of development or achievement usually derived from the average or median achievement of a large group (b): a pattern or trait taken to be typical in the behavior of a social group (c): a widespread or usual practice, procedure, or custom

(với những nghĩa này, có thể dịch là 'thông lệ', hoặc 'kiểu mẫu' vv)

Thứ Tư, ngày 27 tháng 8 năm 2008

Benchmarking in HE

Benchmarking in Higher Education: Adapting Best Practices To Improve Quality. ERIC Digest. by Alstete, Jeffrey W.
http://www.ericdigests.org/1997-3/bench.html, accessed 27/8/08


Increasing competition, demands for accountability, and higher volumes of available information are changing the methods of how institutions of higher education operate in the mid-1990s. For higher education to enact substantial and sustainable changes in efficiency and productivity, a new way of thinking or paradigm that builds efficiency and a desire for continual learning must be integrated into institutional structures. Tools are also being developed that measure or benchmark the progress and success of these efforts (Keeton & Mayo-Wells 1994). Among the improvement strategies and techniques such as Total Quality Management (TQM), Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI), and Business Process Reengineering (BPR), benchmarking has emerged as a useful, easily understood, and effective tool for staying competitive.

WHAT IS BENCHMARKING?
Although the use of comparative data has been used for years in some industries, including higher education, benchmarking as defined today was developed in the early 1980s at the Xerox Corporation in response to increased competition and a rapidly declining market (Camp 1989). The strategy of benchmarking is important both conceptually and practically, and is being used for improving administrative processes as well as instructional models at colleges and universities by examining processes and models at other schools and adapting their techniques and approaches (Chaffee & Sherr 1992; Clark 1993). More concisely, benchmarking is an ongoing, systematic process for measuring and comparing the work processes of one organization to those of another, by bringing an external focus to internal activities, functions, or operations (Kempner 1993).

The goal of benchmarking is to provide key personnel, in charge of processes, with an external standard for measuring the quality and cost of internal activities, and to help identify where opportunities for improvement may reside. Benchmarking is analogous to the human learning process, and it has been described as a method of teaching an institution how to improve (Leibfried & McNair 1992). As with other quality concepts, benchmarking should be integrated into the fundamental operations throughout the organization and be an ongoing process that analyzes the data collected longitudinally. Benchmarking attempts to answer the following questions:
*How well are we doing compared to others?
*How good do we want to be?
*Who is doing it the best?
*How do they do it?
*How can we adapt what they do to our institution?
*How can we be better than the best? (Kempner 1993)

Previously, questions like these may have not have seemed important to institutions of higher education. However, in the competitive and rapidly changing markets of the 1990s (characterized by declining enrollments and funding in higher education), organizations are learning never to be satisfied with the status-quo, and to continually question their internal operations and relative position in the eyes of prospective customers. To answer these questions, several multi-step benchmarking methods have been developed by leading benchmarking practitioners (Camp 1995; Spendolini 1992; Watson 1992).

Benchmarking procedures can be condensed into four steps: planning the study, conducting the research, analyzing the data, and adapting the findings to the home institution that is conducting the study. The first step involves selecting and defining the administrative or teaching process(es) to be studied, identifying how the process will be measured, and deciding which other institutions to measure against. Second, benchmarking process data is collected using primary and/or secondary research about the colleges, universities, or other organizations being studied. The third step consists of analyzing the data gathered to calculate the research findings and to develop recommendations. At this point, the differences or gaps in performance between the institutions being benchmarked help to identify the process enablers that equip the leaders in their high performance. Adaption of these enablers for improvement is the fourth step in the first iteration of a benchmarking cycle, and the primary goal of the project.

A review of the benchmarking literature shows that there are primarily four kinds of benchmarking: internal, competitive, functional/industry, and generic or best-in-class. Internal benchmarking can be conducted at large, decentralized institutions where there are several departments or units that conduct similar processes. The more common competitive benchmarking analyzes processes with peer institutions that are competing in similar markets. Functional or industry benchmarking is similar to competitive benchmarking, except that the group of competitors is larger and more broadly defined (Rush 1994). Generic or best-in-class uses the broadest application of data collection from different industries to find the best operations practices available. The selection of the benchmarking type depends on the process(es) being analyzed, the availability of data, and the available expertise at the institution.

IS BENCHMARKING APPLICABLE TO HIGHER EDUCATION?
Due to its reliance on hard data and research methodology, benchmarking is especially suited for institutions of higher education in which these types of studies are very familiar to faculty and administrators. Practitioners at colleges and universities have found that benchmarking helps overcome resistance to change, provides a structure for external evaluation, and creates new networks of communication between schools where valuable information and experiences can be shared (AACSB 1994). Benchmarking is a positive process, and provides objective measurements for baselining (setting the initial values), goal-setting and improvement tracking, which can lead to dramatic innovations (Shafer & Coate 1992). In addition, quality strategies and reengineering efforts are both enhanced by benchmarking because it can identify areas that could benefit most from TQM and/or BPR, and make it possible to improve operations with often dramatic innovations.


Despite the majority of positive recommendations for using benchmarking and successful examples of its current use, there are critics of its applicability to higher education. The stated objections include the belief that benchmarking is merely a strategy for marginally improving existing processes, that it is applicable only to administrative processes (or only to teaching practices), is a euphemism for copying, is lacking innovation, or that it can expose institutional weaknesses (Brigham 1995; Dale 1995). These concerns are largely unfounded because benchmarking can radically change processes (if warranted), apply to both administration and teaching, adapt not “adopt” best practices, and if the Benchmarking Code of Conduct is followed, confidentiality concerns can be reduced. The Code of Conduct calls for benchmarking practitioners to abide by stated principles of legality, exchange, and confidentiality (APQC 1993). Benchmarking can make it possible for the industry to improve processes in a “leapfrog” fashion by identifying and bringing home best practices, and therefore offering a way of responding to demands for cost containment and enhanced service quality in a cost-effective and quality-oriented manner (APQC 1993; Shafer & Coate 1992).

WHERE IS BENCHMARKING BEING USED IN HIGHER EDUCATION?
Graduate business schools, professional associations such as NACUBO and ACHE, independent data sharing consortia, private consulting companies, and individual institutions are all conducting benchmarking projects today. The broad-based NACUBO benchmarking program was begun in late 1991, and it seeks to provide participants with an objective basis for improved operational performance by offering a “pointer” to the best practices of other organizations. Today, nearly 282 institutions have participated in the study, and the current project analyzes 26 core functions at colleges and universities, such as accounting, admissions, development, payroll, purchasing, student housing, and others (NACUBO 1995). The Association for Continuing Higher Education (ACHE) and graduate business schools have also conducted specialized benchmarking studies that focus on the processes and practices concerning their particular institutional departments (AACSB 1994; Alstete 1996). A review of the literature finds independent benchmarking projects are currently in use, or have recently been conducted, by a wide range of institutions such as the University of the Chicago, Oregon State University, Pennsylvania State University, Babson College, and many others. These independent projects cover undergraduate and graduate teaching processes, as well as academic and business administrative practices.

How Can an Institution Get Started?
Before beginning a benchmarking study, an institution should decide if benchmarking is the correct quality improvement tool for the situation. After processes are selected for analysis, the appropriate personnel, who have a working knowledge of the area undergoing the benchmarking analysis should then be chosen to conduct the study. A college and university can take part in an externally sponsored benchmarking project with predefined objectives, or conduct a project on its own or with the help of consultants. It is recommended that, as a start, an institution new to benchmarking, begin with a more “grassroots” level departmental or administrative project that measures best practices internally, or with local competitors. An institution that is more advanced in quality improvement efforts can seek out world-class competitors better and implement the findings more readily than a benchmarking novice (Marchese 1995b). Information on prospective benchmarking partners can be obtained from libraries, professional associations, personal contacts, and data sharing consortia. Once the benchmarking data is collected and analyzed, it can be distributed in a benchmarking report internally within the institution and externally to benchmarking partners for implementation of improved processes. The overall goal is the adaption of the process enablers at the home institution to achieve effective quality improvement. Benchmarking is more than just gathering data. It involves adapting a new approach of continually questioning how processes are performed, seeking out best practices, and implementing new models of operation.

REFERENCES
Camp, R.C. (1989), Benchmarking: The Search for Industry Best Practices That Lead to Superior Performance. Milwaukee, WI: ASQC Quality Press.
Camp, R.C. (1995). Business Process Benchmarking; Finding and Implementing Best Practices. Milwaukee, WI: Quality Press.
Kempner, D.E. (1993). The Pilot Years: The Growth of the NACUBO Benchmarking Project. NACUBO Business Officer, 27(6), 21-31.
Shafer, B.S., & Coate, L.E. (1992). Benchmarking in Higher Education: A Tool for Improving Quality and Reducing Cost. Business Officer, 26(5), 28-35.
This ERIC digest is based on a full-length report in the ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report series 95-5, Benchmarking in Higher Education: Adapting Best Practices to Improve Quality by Jeffrey W. Alstete.

Norm-Referenced Achievement Tests

http://www.fairtest.org/facts/nratests.html (3 of 8)6/19/2008 4:01:18 PM

Human beings make tests. They decide what topics to include on the test, what kinds of questions to ask, and what the correct answers are, as well as how to use test scores. Tests can be made to compare students to each other (norm-referenced tests) or to see whether students have mastered a body of knowledge (criterion or standards-referenced tests). This fact sheet explains what NRTs are, their limitations and flaws, and how they affect schools.

What are norm-referenced tests?
Norm-referenced tests (NRTs) compare a person's score against the scores of a group of people who have already taken the same exam, called the "norming group." When you see scores in the paper which report a school's scores as a percentage -- "the Lincoln school ranked at the 49th percentile" -- or when you see your child's score reported that way -- "Jamal scored at the 63rd percentile" -- the test is usually an NRT.

Most achievement NRTs are multiple-choice tests. Some also include open-ended, short-answer questions. The questions on these tests mainly reflect the content of nationally-used textbooks, not the local curriculum. This means that students may be tested on things your local schools or state education department decided were not so important and therefore were not taught.

Commercial, national, norm-referenced "achievement" tests include the California Achievement Test (CAT); Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS), which includes the "Terra Nova"; Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) and Tests of Academic Proficiency (TAP); Metropolitan Achievement Test (MAT); and Stanford Achievement Test (SAT, not to be confused with the college admissions SAT). "IQ," "cognitive ability," "school readiness," and developmental screening tests are also NRTs.

Creating the bell curve.
NRTs are designed to "rank-order" test takers -- that is, to compare students' scores. A commercial norm-referenced test does not compare all the students who take the test in a given year. Instead, test-makers select a sample from the target student population (say, ninth graders). The test is "normed" on this sample, which is supposed to fairly represent the entire target population (all ninth graders in the nation). Students' scores are then reported in relation to the scores of this "norming" group.


To make comparing easier, testmakers create exams in which the results end up looking at least somewhat like a bell-shaped curve (the "normal" curve, shown in the diagram). Testmakers make the test so that most students will score near the middle, and only a few will score low (the left side of the curve) or high (the right side of the curve).

Scores are usually reported as percentile ranks. The scores range from 1st percentile to 99th percentile, with the average student score set at the 50th percentile. If Jamal scored at the 63rd percentile, it means he scored higher than 63% of the test takers in the norming group. Scores also can be reported as "grade equivalents," "stanines," and "normal curve equivalents."

One more question right or wrong can cause a big change in the student's score. In some cases, having one more correct answer can cause a student's reported percentile score to jump more than ten points. It is very important to know how much difference in the percentile rank would be caused by getting one or two more questions right.
In making an NRT, it is often more important to choose questions that sort people along the curve than it is to make sure that the content covered by the test is adequate. The tests sometimes emphasize small and meaningless differences among testtakers. Since the tests are made to sort students, most of the things everyone knows are not tested. Questions may be obscure or tricky, in order to help
rank order the testtakers.

Tests can be biased. Some questions may favor one kind of student or another for reasons that have nothing to do with the subject area being tested. Non-school knowledge that is more commonly learned by middle or upper class children is often included in tests. To help make the bell curve, testmakers usually eliminate questions that students with low overall scores might get right but those with high
overall scores get wrong. Thus, most questions which favor minority groups are eliminated.

NRTs usually have to be completed in a time limit. Some students do not finish, even if they know the material. This can be particularly unfair to students whose first language is not English or who have learning disabilities. This "speededness" is one way testmakers sort people out.

How accurate is that test score?
The items on the test are only a sample of the whole subject area. There are often thousands of questions that could be asked, but tests may have just a few dozen questions. A test score is therefore an estimate of how well the student would do if she could be asked all the possible questions.

All tests have "measurement error." No test is perfectly reliable. A score that appears as an absolute number -- say, Jamal's 63 -- really is an estimate. For example, Jamal's "true score" is probably between 56 and 70, but it could be even further off. Sometimes results are reported in "score bands," which show
the range within which a test-takers' "true score" probably lies.

There are many other possible causes of measurement error. A student can be having a bad day. Test-taking conditions often are not the same from place to place (they are not adequately "standardized"). Different versions of the same test are in fact not quite exactly the same. Sub-scores on tests are even less precise. This is mostly because there are often very few items on the sub-test. A score band for a Juanita's math sub-test might show that her score is between the 33rd and 99th percentile because only a handful of questions were asked.

Scores for young children are much less reliable than for older students. This is because young children's moods and attention are more variable. Also, young children develop quickly and unevenly, so even an accurate score today could be wrong next month.

What do score increases mean?
If your child's or your school's score goes up on a norm-referenced test, does that mean she knows more or the school is better? Maybe yes, maybe not. Schools cannot teach everything. They teach some facts, some procedures, some concepts, some skills -- but not others. Often, schools focus most on what is tested and stop teaching many things that are not tested. When scores go up, it does not mean the
students know more, it means they know more of what is on that test.

For example, history achievement test "A" could have a question on Bacon's Rebellion (a rebellion by Black slaves and White indentured servants against the plantation owners in colonial Virginia). Once teachers know Bacon's Rebellion is covered on the exam, they are more likely to teach about it. But if those same students are given history test "B," which does not ask about Bacon's Rebellion but does ask
about Shay's Rebellion, which the teacher has not taught, the students will not score as well.

Teaching to the test explains why scores usually go down when a new test is used. A district or state usually uses an NRT for five to ten years. Each year, the score goes up as teachers become familiar with what is on the test. When a new test is used, the scores suddenly drop. The students don't know less, it is just that different things are now being tested.

Can all the children score above average?
Politicians often call for all students to score above the national average. This is not possible. NRTs are constructed so that half the population is below the mid-point or average score. Expecting all students to be above the fiftieth percentile is like expecting all teams in a basketball league to win more than half their games. However, because the tests are used for years and because schools teach to them, there are times when far more than half the students score above average.

Why use norm-referenced tests?
To compare students, it is often easiest to use a norm-referenced test because they were created to rank test-takers. If there are limited places (such as in a "Gifted and Talented" program) and choices have to be made, it is tempting to use a test constructed to rank students, even if the ranking is not very meaningful and keeps out some qualified children.

NRT's are a quick snapshot of some of the things most people expect students to learn. They are relatively cheap and easy to administer. If they were only used as one additional piece of information and not much importance was put on them, they would not be much of a problem.

The dangers of using norm-referenced tests
Many mistakes can be made by relying on test scores to make educational decisions. Every major maker of NRTs tells schools not to use them as the basis for making decisions about retention, graduation or replacement. The testmakers know that their tests are not good enough to use that way.

The testing profession, in its Standards for Educational and Psychological Measurement, states, "In elementary or secondary education, a decision or characterization that will have a major impact on a test taker should not automatically be made on the basis of a single test score."

Any one test can only measure a limited part of a subject area or a limited range of important human abilities. A "reading" test may measure only some particular reading "skills," not a full range of the ability to understand and use texts. Multiple-choice math tests can measure skill in computation or solving routine problems, but they are not good for assessing whether students can reason
mathematically and apply their knowledge to new, real-world problems.

Most NRTs focus too heavily on memorization and routine procedures. Mutiple-choice and short answer questions do not measure most knowledge that students need to do well in college, qualify for good jobs, or be active and informed citizens. Tests like these cannot show whether a student can write a research paper, use history to help understand current events, understand the impact of science on society, or debate important issues. They don't test problem-solving, decision-making, judgement, or social skills.

Tests often cause teachers to overemphasize memorization and de-emphasize thinking and application of knowledge. Since the tests are very limited, teaching to them narrows instruction and weakens curriculum. Making test score gains the definition of "improvement" often guarantees that schooling becomes test coaching. As a result, students are deprived of the quality education they deserve.

Norm-referenced tests also can lower academic expectations. NRTs support the idea that learning or intelligence fits a bell curve. If educators believe it, they are more likely to have low expectations of students who score below average.

Schools should not use NRTs
The damage caused by using NRTs is far greater than any possible benefits the tests provide. The main purpose of NRTs is to rank and sort students, not to determine whether students have learned the material they have been taught. They do not measure anywhere near enough of what students should learn. They have very harmful effects on curriculum and instruction. In the end, they provide a distorted view of learning that then causes damage to teaching and learning.

Thứ Bảy, ngày 09 tháng 8 năm 2008

Kết quả xếp hạng trường đại học VN theo Webometrics

Xin sử dụng link dưới đây và vào country: Vietnam để xem.

http://www.webometrics.info/rank_by_country_select.asp

Language Testing Blog: Midterm Test!

Language Testing Blog: Midterm Test!

Your lecturer is speaking again!

Dear all,

I've posted the Midterm test on the blog. And because I have the time (and in the mood), I've posted other things on it too. So, when you look at the home page, you may need to scroll down a few pages to find the test itself. In case some of you are not familiar with blogs, I am writing this to explain how to find the test. Follow the instruction below:



When you are at the home page, look at your left-hand side. You'll see

Kết quả xếp hạng của Webometrics Tháng 7/2008: MỚI!!!

Bạn có biết về Webometrics, phải không? Vậy bạn cũng biết là họ mới công bố kết quả xếp hạng lần 2 của năm 2008 chứ? Dưới đây là bài viết của họ để giới thiệu kết quả lần này. Nói tóm tắt: Cũng như các hệ thống xếp hạng khác, các phương pháp và kỹ thuật thu thập số liệu để xếp hạng của họ lại vừa thay đổi. Vậy nếu bạn muốn có trường của bạn có vị trí cao trong bảng xếp hạng của họ, xin vui lòng đọc kỹ bài đọc dưới đây (đã được dịch song ngữ - well, rough translation, done at one sitting) để hỗ trợ những người nào có trình độ tiếng Anh chưa vượt quá trình độ B2 của CEF (tức khoảng 5.5 - 6.0 IELTS). Read, and enjoy!!! (Chỉ một yêu cầu: khi sử dụng, xin ghi nguồn, và dịch giả: Vũ Thị Phương Anh, ĐHQG-HCM!)<br />
-----
Since 2004, the Ranking Web is published two times (January & July) per year. This ranking has the largest coverage with more than 16,000 Higher Education Institutions worldwide listed in the Directory. Web presence measures the activity and visibility of the institutions and it is a good indicator of impact and prestige of universities. Rank summarizes the global performance of the University, provides information for candidate students and scholars, and reflects the commitment to the dissemination of scientific knowledge.

Từ năm 2004 đến nay, Webometrics đã công bố kết quả xếp hạng của mình 2 lần mỗi năm vào tháng Giêng và tháng Bảy. Hệ thống xếp hạng này có độ bao phủ lớn nhất trong tất cả các bảng xếp hạng, với tổng số trên 16,000 trường đại học trên khắp thế giới được nêu trong danh bạ. Sự hiện diện trên trang Web (web presence) của các trường được đo lường bằng các hoạt động và khả năng nhận diện của các trường, và đây là một chỉ báo tốt để đo lường sự tác động cũng như uy tín của trường đại học. Thứ hạng trong bảng xếp hạng của Webometrics tóm tắt hoạt động toàn cầu của trường đại học, cung cấp thông tin cho các sinh viên tiềm năng và các học giả, và phản ánh sự cam kết đối với việc phổ biến thông tin khoa học.

We intend to motivate both institutions and scholars to have a web presence that reflect accurately their activities. If the web performance of an institution is below the expected position according to their academic excellence, university authorities should reconsider their web policy, promoting substantial increases of the volume and quality of their electronic publications.

Mục tiêu của chúng tôi là nhằm động viên các trường đại học cũng như các học giả tạo ra một sự hiện diện trên trang Web sao cho phản ánh được một cách chính xác hoạt động của họ. Nếu hoạt động trên trang web của một trường thấp hơn vị trí mong đợi của nhà trường dựa trên sự xuất sắc về học thuật của mình, thì lãnh đạo nhà trường cần xem xét lại chính sách về trang web của mình, và động viên sự gia tăng đáng kể về khối lượng cũng như chất lượng của việc công bố các ấn phẩm điện tử của mình.

Những thay đổi lớn

Chúng tôi đã áp dụng một chính sách đặt tên mới sử dụng chữ viết thường cho các trang web đã được liệt kê để cải thiện độ dễ đọc. Chúng tôi cũng đang cố gắng đưa thêm hoặc sửa chữa lại các chữ cái và các dấu đặc biệt, vì thế chúng tôi rất mong trong thời gian này quý vị kiên nhẫn chờ đợi thêm một chút nữa.

Major changes
We have adopted a new naming policy using lowercases for the listed sites in order to improve readability. We are working on adding or correcting the lost special characters and accents, so we kindly ask for your patience in the meantime.


Cơ sở dữ liệu về các trường đại học mà chúng tôi có đã được cải thiện và cập nhật, với thêm 3,000 đề mục mới hoặc được sửa chữa, trong đó có cả việc đưa vào tất cả các tên tiếng Anh của các trường đại học của Ba Lan. Nếu bạn thấy rằng đơn vị của bạn không có trong danh mục được liệt kê, xin vui lòng gửi cho chúng tôi một thư điện tử để chúng tôi có thể đưa thêm vào trong phiên bản cập nhật.

The database has been completely revised and updated with about 3,000 entries added or corrected, including English names for all the universities of Poland. If you see that your institution is not already listed, please feel free to send us an email so we can add it to the updated version.

Chúng tôi cũng có đưa thêm vào một "khu vực" mới được gọi là thế giới Ả Rập (với các tên miền có đuôi dz, bh, km, dj, eg, er, iq, jo, kw, lb, ly, mr, ma, om, ps, qa, sa, so, sd, sy, tn, ae, ye), khu vực này được tạo ra để chỉ vùng Trung Đông (không kể Iran bây giờ đã được chuyển sang khu vực Châu Á)và Bắc Phi.

A new "region" has been introduced that it is called Arab World (dz, bh, km, dj, eg, er, iq, jo, kw, lb, ly, mr, ma, om, ps, qa, sa, so, sd, sy, tn, ae, ye), which is meant to cover the Middle East (excluding Iran which is now transferred to Asia) and North Africa.

Còn về phương pháp xếp hạng thì chỉ báo Scholar đã được tính toán lại, và bây giờ chỉ số này được thu thập từ điểm trung bình giữa số liệu tổng và số liệu của giai đoạn 2001-2008. Do một số trục trặc kỹ thuật nên yếu tố G cho 1000 trường đại học đầu tiên không được xem xét đến để tính chỉ báo nhận diện, nhưng trong lần công bố kết quả tới chúng tôi sẽ tiếp tục sử dụng.

Regarding ranking methodology, the Scholar indicator has been recalculated, so it is now obtained from the mean between total figures and those for the period 2001-2008. Due to some technical problems the G-factor for the first 1,000 universities is not yet taken into account for the visibility indicator, but we intend to use it in the next edition.

Về các thực tiễn tồi (bad practices)
Việc sử dụng các nông trại liên kết (link farms) và các liên kết trả lại (paidback links) để cải thiện vị trí xếp hạng trong Webometrics là điều không thể chấp nhận vì đây không phải là một cách làm mang tính hàn lâm và nó phản lại với chính mục đích của hệ thống xếp hạng của chúng tôi. Những trường nào có áp dụng các thực tiễn này không có chỗ trong hệ thống xếp hạng này và sẽ không được liệt kê trong những lần công bố kết quả tiếp theo. Chúng tôi sẽ kiểm tra ngẫu nhiên để xem xét sự đúng đắn trong các dữ liệu mà chúng tôi thu thập được
.

Regarding bad practices
The use of link farms and paid backlinks to improve the position in our Webometrics Rankings is not aceptable as this is a non academic practice and it is contrary to the aims of this Ranking. The involved institutions does not have a place in our Ranking and will not be classified in future editions. Random checks are made to ensure the correcteness of the data obtained.

Ghi chú
Phần có tên gọi là "Ghi chú" cung cấp thông tin về các trường có cách đặt tên không tốt, kể cả việc có các tên miền trùng lắp. Nếu tên của một trường có kèm thêm một con số thì quý vị sẽ tìm thấy một lời nhận xét trong mục Ghi chú.


Notes
The section called Notes is providing information about institutions with bad naming practices, including duplicate domains. If a number appears after the name of the university you will find the corresponding detailed comments at the Notes section

Thứ Sáu, ngày 08 tháng 8 năm 2008

In Testing, One Size May Not Fit All

In Testing, One Size May Not Fit All
By TAMAR LEWIN
Published: March 18, 2002

Kyle Stofle, a 10th grader at Pittsburg High School who has dyslexia and virtually unreadable handwriting, has been in special education since second grade. But Kyle, 15, has always expected to get his diploma along with the rest of the class of 2004.
So he and his mother became worried when they learned that, starting with his class, every California student would have to pass a statewide language and math test to graduate.
''When the exit exam first came up, last year, I went to a meeting and asked what would happen to kids with learning disabilities,'' said Kyle's mother, Karen Bruno. ''They kept saying that they didn't know, that it would end up in court.''
So it has. An Oakland-based advocacy group challenged the graduation exam under federal disability laws.
On Feb. 21, two weeks before Kyle and other 10th graders were to take the test, Judge Charles R. Breyer of Federal District Court ruled that students with learning disabilities had the right to special treatment, through different assessment methods or accommodations like the use of a calculator or the chance to have test questions read aloud.
It was the first time a state had been ordered to adjust the conditions for its graduation exams for students with learning disabilities, most of whom are dyslexics with reading problems.
The question of how far to accommodate students with learning disabilities on college entrance tests like the SAT has become a familiar one, as requests for special accommodations proliferate, especially from affluent white families.
But with more than a dozen states putting graduation exams into effect in the next three years -- and others requiring new tests for promotion to the next grade -- the debate has become broader and more urgent, with some education experts predicting that new legal challenges are inevitable.
''As these laws are phased in and kids really start to be denied diplomas, it'll go to lots of courts, and lots of legislatures,'' Robert Schaeffer of FairTest, a group in Cambridge, Mass., that is critical of standardized testing. ''This is a great unexplored weakness of the whole high-stakes testing thing.''
Some education experts say they worry, however, that as more students seek special accommodations, the whole notion of standardized testing may break down. What is a diploma worth, they add, if students who cannot read, write or do arithmetic are allowed to pass academic tests?
With more than 12 percent of the nation's schoolchildren now identified as disabled -- some with physical problems, but most with learning disabilities -- concern is growing that some students say they have learning disabilities just to win easier testing conditions.
In recent years, half the states have enacted laws requiring that high school students pass standardized exams to graduate. High failure rates on the tests have prompted some states to delay putting them into effect or lower the score for passing.
These so-called exit exams create a particularly tough hurdle for students with learning disabilities. When California gave its first exit exam last year, on a voluntary basis, 9 of 10 students with learning disabilities failed.
Kyle failed the language and math sections, and because his handwriting was so bad, his essay questions were never scored.
''A lot of the questions made no sense to me,'' Kyle said. ''Some of the math was on things I've never learned.''
Kyle said he thinks he did better this year because his teacher, apparently on her own decision, read the questions to him. To earn his diploma, Kyle must pass the test by his senior year.
Many states, including New York, already allow a broad range of options for disabled students. Instead of taking the regular test, they can give oral presentations or present portfolios of their work.
But the clash between disability rights and educational standards is profound. States devised graduation exams to measure all students by the same yardstick. In contrast, the disability laws were designed to ensure that disabled children receive educations tailored to their needs. Moreover, there is little scientific data on precisely which accommodations help which learning disabilities.
''The equities here are not clear,'' said Lawrence Feinberg, assistant director of the group that administers the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the federal test that rates school performance.
''Standardized tests came in because of variations in testing and grading and the notion that it's only fair if you test everyone the same way,'' he said. ''It turns that whole idea on its head, if you treat some people differently because it's fairer to them.''
Many state education officials say that including disabled students in statewide testing is a good thing.
''A student who's tested is a student who's taught,'' said Kit Viator, an assessment official in the Massachusetts education department.
Advocacy groups for the disabled do not disagree. But they say that making a learning disabled student take a standardized test without accommodations is as unfair as requiring a physically disabled child to run a race without a wheelchair.
''Standardized tests test students' disabilities, not their abilities,'' said Sid Wolinsky, a lawyer with Disability Rights Advocates, the Oakland group that challenged the California law. ''No matter how well they master the content that's being tested, they will fail the exam if they have real problems with reading or handwriting.''
As enacted, California's graduation exam policy prohibited calculators or test readers on the grounds that reading and calculating were so fundamental that students should not graduate without demonstrating those skills.
In December, that policy was amended to let disabled students who used such accommodations receive a diploma if their district won a waiver from the state, a process the judge said was still too restrictive.
While the judge's order allowed students to use accommodations on the latest exam, it left open, until a later hearing, the question of whether scores earned with such accommodations will be treated the same as those earned under regular conditions. So students who used accommodations do not yet know if a passing score will earn them a diploma.
''The dilemma we find ourselves in is this fairness issue, where to draw the line with students who have some disability that makes it impossible to pass this test,'' said Phil Spears, director of California Department of Education's Standards and Assessments Division.
''If you say that a student who doesn't have the ability to read or compute can still pass, that sends a message that isn't acceptable to the world out there,'' he said. ''When special ed kids get out of school, they don't go to special ed town, they go out and compete with all the rest of us.''
Mr. Spears added that California and other states had not yet resolved a basic question. ''There's no clear understanding of what we're supposed to be doing,'' he said. ''Are we creating tests of different content, at a lower level of rigor, for kids with disabilities? Or are we seeking other ways to assess their mastery of the same skills? I don't know the answer.''
For now, California's learning disabled 10th graders remain confused about how to handle the test. In Fair Oaks, at Del Campo High School, Katie Culpepper, who has a neuroprocessing disorder, skipped it altogether. But at Petaluma's Casa Grande High School, another learning disabled student, Sabrina Shired, took it with no accommodations.
''It's been kind of tense and awful,'' Sabrina said. ''But I wanted to try the test under regular conditions, since it would be even worse if I took it with accommodations and passed, and then later they said that invalidated the test and I still couldn't get my diploma. If I pass this way, I'll feel great.''
Many parents of disabled 10th graders hope the state will delay the exit-exam requirement -- but are quietly making backup plans.
''If she hasn't passed by senior year, we'll think about a transfer to a Catholic school, where the exam isn't required,'' said Sabrina's mother, Eileen Shired. ''Somehow, she's going to get a diploma.''

Midterm Test!

Name: _______________
Date: 8/8/2008


Midterm Test in Language Testing
Duration: 45 minutes

Read the following article on Norm-Referenced Tests. Then do the tasks below.
A. Match the titles (numbered 1 to 10) to the appropriate paragraphs (lettered A to J).
B. Decide whether the author of this article is for or against NR testing, and write a short paragph to explain why you think so.
---
ARTICLE:

Human beings make tests. They decide what topics to include on the test, what kinds of questions to ask, and what the correct answers are, as well as how to use test scores. Tests can be made to compare students to each other (norm-referenced tests) or to see whether students have mastered a body of knowledge (criterion or standards-referenced tests). This fact sheet explains what NRTs are, their limitations and flaws, and how they affect schools.

Titles:
1. In making an NRT, it is often more important to choose questions that sort people along the curve than it is to make sure that the content covered by the test is adequate.
2. Most achievement NRTs are multiple-choice tests.
3. Norm-referenced tests (NRTs) compare a person's score against the scores of a group of people who have already taken the same exam, called the "norming group."
4. NRTs are designed to "rank-order" test takers -- that is, to compare students' scores.
5. NRT's are a quick snapshot of some of the things most people expect students to learn.
6. NRTs usually have to be completed in a time limit.
7. One more question right or wrong can cause a big change in the student's score.
8. Scores are usually reported as percentile ranks.
9. Tests can be biased.
10. The items on the test are only a sample of the whole subject area.
11. Teaching to the test explains why scores usually go down when a new test is used.
12. To make comparing easier, testmakers create exams in which the results end up looking at least somewhat like a bell-shaped curve.

Paragraphs:
A. __________
When you see scores in the paper which report a school's scores as a percentage -- "the Lincoln school ranked at the 49th percentile" -- or when you see your child's score reported that way -- "Jamal scored at the 63rd percentile" -- the test is usually an NRT.

B. __________
Some also include open-ended, short-answer questions. The questions on these tests mainly reflect the content of nationally-used textbooks, not the local curriculum. This means that students may be tested on things your local schools or state education department decided were not so important and therefore were not taught.
C. __________
A commercial norm-referenced test does not compare all the students who take the test in a given year. Instead, test-makers select a sample from the target student population (say, ninth graders). The test is "normed" on this sample, which is supposed to fairly represent the entire target population (all ninth graders in the nation). Students' scores are then reported in relation to the scores of this “norming" group.

D. __________
Testmakers make the test so that most students will score near the middle, and only a few will score low (the left side of the curve) or high (the right side of the curve).

E. __________
The scores range from 1st percentile to 99th percentile, with the average student score set at the 50th percentile. If Jamal scored at the 63rd percentile, it means he scored higher than 63% of the test takers in the norming group. Scores also can
be reported as "grade equivalents," "stanines," and "normal curve equivalents."

F. __________
In some cases, having one more correct answer can cause a student's reported percentile score to jump more than ten points. It is very important to know how much difference in the percentile rank would be caused by getting one or two more questions right.
G. __________
The tests sometimes emphasize small and meaningless differences among testtakers. Since the tests are made to sort students, most of the things everyone knows are not tested. Questions may be obscure or tricky, in order to help rank order the testtakers.

H. __________
Some questions may favor one kind of student or another for reasons that have nothing to do with the subject area being tested. Non-school knowledge that is more commonly learned by middle or upper class children is often included in tests. To help make the bell curve, testmakers usually eliminate questions that students with low overall scores might get right but those with high overall scores get wrong. Thus, most questions which favor minority groups are eliminated.

I. __________
Some students do not finish, even if they know the material. This can be particularly unfair to students whose first language is not English or who have
learning disabilities. This "speededness" is one way testmakers sort people out.

J. __________
There are often thousands of questions that could be asked, but tests may have just a few dozen questions. A test score is therefore an estimate of how well the student would do if she could be asked all the possible questions.

GOOD LUCK!