Discrimination of performance tiers and prediction of success in introductory physics courses using a statistical method for establishing cutoff scores

Maher M. Alarfaj (King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia)
Charles Secolsky (County College of Morris, Randolph, New Jersey)
Fahad S. Alshaya (King Saud University, Saudi Arabia) (The Excellence Research Center of Science and Mathematics Education, Saudi Arabia)

Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: Gulf Perspectives

ISSN: 2077-5504

Article publication date: 1 June 2017

Issue publication date: 1 June 2017

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This study sheds light on the prediction of success using cutoff scores for student grades adopted for a required Physics pathway course for study in a health professions program at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia. Data on course grade and GPA for approximately 10,000 students enrolled in this course between 2008–2014, were analyzed. Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was used to determine cutoffs for course grades using ranges of GPA. This procedure has promise as a new method for quantitatively arriving at cutoff scores using an external criterion requiring less human judgment than most existing standard setting methods. The cutoff scores produced show that GPAs of students who complete the Physics course yield successive performance tiers that are lower than expected. In addition, the correlation between GPA and course grade for Physics is only 0.63 and therefore only 39% of the variation in GPA explains course grade. As a result of the findings of the study, the decision was made to maintain the existing standards thereby requiring higher grades in the Physics course for students seeking to enter a health professions course of study.

ﻧﺗﻟا ﺎﮭﺗردﻗو ﺔﯾدﺣﻟا تﺎﺟردﻟا ﻰﻠﻋ ءوﺿﻟا ﺔﯾﻟﺎﺣﻟا ﺔﺳاردﻟا طﻠﺳﺗ ﻲﻓ ﺔﺑﻠطﻟا حﺎﺟﻧ ﻰﻠﻋ ﺔﯾؤﺑﻲﻟوﻻا ءﺎﯾزﯾﻔﻟا ررﻘﻣ زﯾﻓ)145( ، دﻌﯾ يذﻟاوﻠﻋ ﺎﯾﺳﺎﺳا ﺎﺑﻠطﺗﻣكﻠﻣﻟا ﺔﻌﻣﺎﺟ ﻲﻓ ﺔﯾﺣﺻﻟا تﺎﺻﺻﺧﺗﻟا ﺔﺑﻠط ﻰ ﺔﻘﻠﻌﺗﻣﻟا تﺎﻧﺎﯾﺑﻟا ﻊﻣﺟ مﺗ دﻘﻓ ﺔﯾﻠﻋو ،ﺔﯾدوﻌﺳﻟا ﺔﯾﺑرﻌﻟا ﺔﻛﻠﻣﻣﻟﺎﺑ دوﻌﺳ نﻣ برﺎﻘﯾ ﺎﻣﻟ ررﻘﻣﻟا اذھ تﺎﺟردﺑ10000 ماوﻋﻻا نﯾﺑ ررﻘﻣﻟا اذﮭﺑ اوﻘﺣﺗﻟا نﯾذﻠﻟا ﺔﺑﻠطﻟا نﻣ2008 - 2014 .ﺔﯾﻣﻛارﺗﻟا مﮭﺗﻻدﻌﻣو ،م ﺗﻟو مادﺧﺗﺳا مﺗ دﻘﻓ ،تﺎﻧﺎﯾﺑﻟا هذھ لﯾﻠﺣ تﺎﯾﻠﻣﻌﻟا لﯾﻐﺷﺗ ﺔﯾﺻﺎﺧ ﻰﻧﺣﻧﻣReceiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) تﺎﺟردﻟا دﯾدﺣﺗﻟ نﻣ دﺣﻟاو ﺔﯾدﺣﻟا تﺎﺟردﻟا ﻰﻟا لوﺻوﻠﻟ ﺔﺛﯾدﺣﻟا ﺔﯾﻣﻛﻟا قرطﻟا نﻣ ﺔﻘﯾرطﻟا هذھ دﻌﺗ ثﯾﺣ ،ﺔﯾﻣﻛارﺗﻟا تﻻدﻌﻣﻟا نﻣ ﺔﻔﻠﺗﺧﻣ تﺎﻗﺎطﻧﻟ ﺔﯾدﺣﻟارﯾﺛﺄﺗﻟا .يرﺷﺑﻟا نﻣﺿ نﺎﻛ ررﻘﻣﻟا اذھ زﺎﺗﺟا نﻣﻟ ﺔﯾﻣﻛارﺗﻟا تﻻدﻌﻣﻟا نا ﻰﻟا ترﺎﺷا دﻗ ﺎﮭﯾﻠﻋ لوﺻﺣﻟا مﺗ ﻲﺗﻟا ﮫﯾدﺣﻟا تﺎﺟردﻟا نﺎﻓ ﺔﯾﻠﻋو تﻐﻠﺑ ﺔﺑﻠطﻟا تﺎﺟردو ﺔﯾﻣﻛارﺗﻟا تﻻدﻌﻣﻟا نﯾﺑ ﺔﯾطﺎﺑﺗرﻻا ﺔﻗﻼﻌﻟا نا ﺎﻣﻛ ،ﻊﻗوﺗﻣﻟا نﻣ لﻗا تﺎﻗﺎطﻧ0.63 ﻲﻧﻌﯾ ﺎﻣﻣ ، نا 39% نﻣتﺎﻧﯾﺎﺑﺗﻟا ﺔﯾﻣھا نﯾﺑﺗﯾ ﺞﺋﺎﺗﻧ نﻣ ﺔﯾﻠﻋ لوﺻﺣﻟا مﺗ ﺎﻣﻟ ﺎﻘﻓوو .رﻘﻣﻟا كﻟذ ﻲﻓ مﮭﺗﺎﺟرد رﯾﺳﻔﺗ ﻲﻓ مﮭﺳﺗ نا نﻛﻣﯾ ﺔﺑﻠطﻠﻟ ﺔﯾﻣﻛارﺗﻟا تﻻدﻌﻣﻟا ﻲﻓﺔظﻓﺎﺣﻣﻟا ﻰﻠﻋ ررﻘﻣﻟا رﯾﯾﺎﻌﻣﺔﯾﻟﺎﺣﻟا ﻊﻣدﯾﻛﺄﺗ لوﺻﺣﺔﺑﻠطﻟا تﺎﺻﺻﺧﺗﻟﺎﺑ قﺎﺣﺗﻟﻼﻟ نﯾﺑﻏارﻟاﺔﯾﺣﺻﻟا تﺎﺟرد ﻰﻠﻋﺔﻌﻔﺗرﻣ .ءﺎﯾزﯾﻔﻟا ررﻘﻣ ﻲﻓ


Alarfaj, M.M., Secolsky, C. and Alshaya, F.S. (2017), "Discrimination of performance tiers and prediction of success in introductory physics courses using a statistical method for establishing cutoff scores", Learning and Teaching in Higher Education: Gulf Perspectives, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 30-42. https://doi.org/10.18538/lthe.v14.n1.277



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017 Maher M. Alarfaj, Charles Secolsky and Fahad S. Alshaya


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Publisher's note: The Publisher would like to inform the reader that the article “Discrimination of performance tiers and prediction of success in introductory physics courses using a statistical method for establishing cutoff scores” has changed pagination. Previous pagination was pp. 1-13. The updated pagination for the article is now pp. 30-42. The Publisher apologises for any inconvenience caused.

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