Many large survey courses rely on multiple professors or teaching assistants to judge student responses to open-ended questions. Even following best practices, students with similar levels of conceptual understanding can receive widely varying assessments from different graders. We detail how this can occur and argue that it is an example of differential item functioning (or interpersonal incomparability), where graders interpret the same possible grading range differently. Using both actual assessment data from a large survey course in Comparative Politics and simulation methods, we show that the bias can be corrected by a small number of bridging observations across graders. We conclude by offering best practices for fair assessment in large survey courses.
- assessment bias
- Bayesian Aldrich-McKelvey scaling
- differential item functioning
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations