Dr Caroline Long, of the Centre for Evaluation and Assessment (CEA), presented a paper entitled ‘An application of the Rasch measurement theory to an assessment of the Van Hiele levels’ at the Southern African Association for Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education (SAARMSTE) conference, held at the University of the Western Cape in January 2013. The paper was presented in collaboration with Dr Gerrit Stols from the Department of Science Mathematics and Technology Education (SMTE) at the University of Pretoria.
A second paper, entitled ‘Applying Rasch measurement theory (RMT) to Mathematical Literacy’, conceptualised by Mr Rajan Debba and Dr Sarah Bansilal, from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Dr Caroline Long, was presented by Mr Rajan Debba. A Rasch workshop was also conducted by Dr Caroline Long and Professor Marietjie Potgieter from the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Pretoria and was attended by 20 people from universities around South Africa and neighbouring countries.
An article, entitled ‘The assessment revolution that has passed England by: Rasch measurement’, refers to the phenomenon that for thirty years (from 1979 to 2009) not a single article on Rasch measurement theory was published in the British Journal of Educational Research. In South Africa and neighbouring countries, pockets of expertise in Rasch theory have emerged over the past ten years. At the University of Pretoria, Professor John Rogan was one of the first pioneers and at the SAARMSTE conference in 2006 held at the University of Pretoria, a workshop was presented on Rasch measurement theory (RMT). Researchers at the CEA, Mrs Elsie Venter and Dr Vanessa Scherman, heard about RMT from Dr John Barnard, a South African who emigrated to Australia. Heike Wendt from Dortmund University visited the CEA in 2006, and introduced Rasch measurement theory to Caroline Long, who subsequently used Rasch measurement theory in her doctoral thesis.