This post is not about promoting the use of standard setting. Personally I have my own reservation about using standard setting. To me it is like shifting the goal post after the ball has been kicked into the goal. But as the faculty’s “statistician”, I have been asked to assist in this process a few times . Professor Nabishah pointed out yesterday that I have yet to train others in this process. Not from the lack of trying though. I have asked the junior lecturers in my unit to join me in doing standard setting but they have politely declined. So I turn to the web to ensure that this process is documented somewhere, so that even if I am no longer around, others can follow this guide, step-by-step. For the purpose of this exercise, I created a hypothetical marks of 198 students. The first step is to copy only the marks of the students from the source (usually from Microsoft Excel) into SPSS as illustrated below.

Copy Marks From Excel Into SPSS

Copy Marks From Excel Into SPSS

From the SPSS menu, click on “Analyse”, “Descriptives” and “Frequencies”.

Select

Select “Frequencies” From The SPSS Menu

Select the “marks” variable and then click on “OK”.

Select The Marks & Click on OK

Select The Marks & Click on OK

Copy and paste the output of that command into a new Excel file.

Copy SPSS Output Into Excel

Copy SPSS Output Into Excel

You need only two of the above columns, the “marks” and “Cumulative Percent”. You can remove the rest. Now select both columns, right click, select “Format Cells” and change both columns to “Numbers” with 2 decimal points. Then click on the Excel menu “Insert”, “Scatter” and “Scatter with Smooth Lines” as illustrated below.

Select Scatter With Smooth Lines

Select Scatter With Smooth Lines

You will get the following chart;

The Initial Scatter Diagram

The Initial Scatter Diagram

Now the respective committee will pass the following figures to the statistician for it to be plotted on the graph. For the sake of this exercise, the hypothetical figures are as follows;

Minimum Passing Mark 49
Maximum Passing Mark 51
Minimum % Failure 12
Maximum % Failure 14

Adjust the X and Y axis of the scatter diagram to focus on the 4 values as stated above. Then draw a line from the top left to the bottom right of the square. Where the line meets the scatter line, draw a vertical line downwards to get the new passing mark. In this example, the new passing mark is 50.35.

Final Scatter Diagram

Final Scatter Diagram

Pass this figure to the committee and your job is done!

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