It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it: the impact of question linguistics on student performance and equity in exams
Idea density is a linguistic measure defined as the number of ideas/concepts in a sentence divided by the total words used. Modifying idea density has been shown to influence comprehension time and overall understanding. Furthermore, evidence suggests that the influence of idea density disproportionately affects second language speakers. It is of note that modification of idea density is purely linguistic, with the core topic and complexity remaining unchanged.
This presentation will first explore the influence of spoken idea density on comprehension in lectures of first and second language speakers. Showing that verbal presentation changes can influence immediate recall.
It will then focus on an ongoing randomised controlled trial, investigating the impact of the idea density of exam questions on student performance across 11 UK universities. Exams are time pressured situations where the rapid comprehension of the task is essential. Therefore, a measure such as idea density, which could aid a more equal understanding across demographics, without affecting core complexity may be of advantage in producing more equitable assessment. In both studies, idea density is investigated as a measure to enhance student understanding and experience. The results could suggest an easily measurable and implementable change to teaching and assessment materials to enhance student experience and assessment and help address attainment differentials.
It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it: the impact of question linguistics on student performance and equity in exams Powerpoint. Only LJMU staff and students have access to this resource.
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