In Desperate Need of a Good Statistician or Mathematician!!!

by Lyne des Roberts alias La Dame dragon

Today, we received Dave’s results… He got a B on his reading test (44/65) and an A (42/80) on his written test. Of course, action will be taken not later than next week. But, in order to go on appeal before the Public Service Commission, it is necessary to be well documented… something we both worked on at lunch time. The more we dig into the problem, the more discrepancies we find! And, honestly, j’en perds mon latin en ce moment.

I will try to explain this phenomenon at the best of my abilities since I do not quite understand the system at this point.

Let’s go back in time and let’s take a look at the cut-off scores for each level (B, C, E). If it is not clear, I cannot really help it…

Reading test (65 questions):

  • B = 38 (58.5%)
  • C = 51 (78.5%)
  • E = 59 (90.8%)

Written test – in force before October 1, 2007 (55 questions):

  • B = 31 (56.4%)
  • C = 44 (80,0%)
  • E = 51 (92.7%)

Written test – in force as per October 1, 2007 (80 questions):

  • B = 46 (57.5%)
  • C = 57 (71.3%)
  • E = 63 (78.8%)

Written test – in force as per June 2, 2008 (65 questions):

Between June 2 and June 16, 2008

  • B = 38 (58.5%) *
  • C = 51 (78.5%) *
  • E = 59 (90.8%) *
* same cut-off scores as for the reading test (65 questions)

As per June 16, 2008

  • B = 33 (50.8%)
  • C = 47 (72.3%)
  • E = 57 (87.7%)

Consequently, Janet (someone I never talked about before today) who took the written test on June 2, 2008 was evaluated based upon the cut-off scores in force between June 2 and June 16. She got her C by 1 point (52/65). Jenn who took the same written test on June 16 was evaluated based upon the cut-off scores in force as per June 16. She got her C missing the E only by 2 points (55/65). Finally Dave who took the 80 question version of the written test on June 16 and June 20 was evaluated based upon the cut-off scores of the old version (prior to June 2). He got an A missing his B by 4 points (42/80).

It is where I am at now!… in total dismay… unable to make sense of this non sense… What throws me off is all those different percentages! I suspect no one ever calculated the cut-off scores on 100… like they do in all schools (from grade school to university)! What about, for instance, saying that people need 55% to get a B, 75% to get a C and 90% to get an E? Whenever the number of questions would be changed, it would not modify the pass mark…

  • B = 55% 44/80, 36/65 or 30/55
  • C = 75% 60/80, 49/65 or 41/55
  • E = 90% 72/80, 58/65 or 49/55

I do not think we need Einstein to figure this out, do we? To quote Dave: “This is like wading into swamp… no wonder so many people would turn back!”

If there is anyone out there who is good with numbers and does understand the calculation system of these cut-off scores, please do not hesitate to come forward and explain it to me!

This blog moved here, if you ever are interested in reading more on those issues…


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1 Comment

  1. July 15, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    […] a previous post, I had pointed out the discrepancy between the cut-off scores of the new written test (65 […]


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