Systematic Error in Measurement: Ethical Implications in Decision-making in Learners’ Assessment in the Nigerian Educational System

By Dr B. A. Bassey, Dr Sylvia V. Ovat & Usani J. Ofem


Measurement in the behavioural sciences is not devoid of errors. Unlike in the  physical sciences where they are already existing standardized calibrated  instruments and the measurement is direct; it is quite different in behavioural and  psychological measurement where education is a subset. The variables measured in  education are hypothetical and indirect. It requires the effort of the classroom  teacher to develop a test, and he/she may not have the right skills and techniques to  construct a valid and reliable test. These skills inadequacy, lack of expertise and a  host of other factors, bring error in measurement. The question that arises then is  this, why do we take decisions with scores that are affected by measurement error?  This was the thrust of this research work. The authors explored measurement errors,  causes of measurement errors, steps in reducing errors in measurement as well as  the implications of the effect of measurement errors in learners’ assessment in the  classroom setting. It was recommended that if examinations and tests are to be  utilized for decision-making on the future of the learner, then, there is need to ensure  that all testers, testing situations and variables are well planned to ensure that errors  are reduced if not eradicated.

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