Validity of PhD Entrance Exams of Engineering in 1397

Document Type : Original Article




The quality of a PhD candidate’s performance is the most important factor that can affect admission committee members’ decision-making and selection of applicants. One of the issues that has always accompanied candidates’ scores  in admission exams is the validity of these scores in predicting the candidates’ successful performance . The primary purpose of this research was evaluating the predictive criterion validity of subject tests scores  in four engineering PhDprograms on interview measures  as the criterion for successful performance . In this descriptive correlational study, candidates’ scores in subject tests  and interviews  in four engineering PhD programs in 2018 were analyzed based on the Generalizability theory. Depending on their majors, examinees’ data included their scores on 3 to 8 subtests in subject tests and 2 composite interview criteria . Data were analyzed using mGENOVA software based on a multivariate analysis with a single facet  design. The relationship between two composite universe scores was illustrated by the bivariate normal distribution in a typical scatter diagram. The results show that subject tests scores can predict candidates’ scores on the interview criterion as an index for successful performance except in the field of Information Technology. The large number of subtests in subject tests,their instability, and the construct irrelevant variance were among the factors that may influence the accuracy of predictions, especially on the cut scores, for accepting or rejecting candidates. Accurately predicting the success of an applicant’s performance  based on test scores   is an unattainable goal. However, precisely defining the criteria for success  in PhD programs, increasing the significance of general English and aptitude tests, adjusting the difficulty level of tests, reducing measurement error in predictive measures  , having a two-step assessment program in which the general language and aptitude tests are administered as a primary screening by NOET and the subject tests and interviews by universities can be effective method to increase the criterion validity of test scores in predicting candidates’ successful performance and enhance the chances of admitting more qualified students.


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