Tag Archives: psychometrics

Statistically thinking

Marambe, Vermunt, Boshuizen in their “A cross-cultural comparison of student learning patterns in higher educaiton” remind us that there are not simple models of the Asian learner, especially because of the way that education systems are set up and the impact of colonialism. They show that an ANOVA analysis of cognitive batteries, in this case the ISL, ICB, and ARPM can show differences in the use of cognitive faculties. In particular, while there was a significance between Dutch learners compared to Sri Lankan and Indonesian learners, there were almost as many differences between Sri Lankan and Indonesian students.

More than just establishing the significance of their results, Marambe, Vermunt, and Boshuizen place the results in a cultural context, noting how similarities correspond to the place of the student in all of these societies, while cognitive differences match socio-cultural differences as well as the relationship between educators and educated.

Because of how well this cognitive test could correspond to cultural differences, I was tempted to include it in the proposal. Ultimately, it seemed like an interesting test, but one that would add too much workload to the researchers, especially if they were going to process heat maps and the simpler memory scale. Although the Weschler memory scale is not as comprehensive, it does have clear elements related to visual processing, which can be compared to the attention data.

Marambe, K., Vermunt, J. j., & Boshuizen, H. (2012). A cross-cultural comparison of student learning patterns in higher education. Higher Education64(3), 299-316.

A Look at Eye Tracking

Although it tends toward the sci-fi side of tracking eye movement, particularly in it’s discussion of “brain-to-machine interface (BMI),” the Fricke, Sobot, and Dounavis in their article “Analogue portable electrooculargram real-time processor” show that measuring eye movement is feasible on a small scale, opening the possibility of future applications.

The authors looked at a simple electrooculargram with five electrodes: one centered on the forehead, two above either eyebrow to measure vertical movement, and two on the outside of either eye to measure horizontal movement. Although it would be difficult to determine exactly where someone is looking, this instrument should give enough information for the purposes of studying where students are looking in a classroom and what sort of stimuli they respond to, such as the teacher’s gaze and emoting or material on the board. Ideally, five electrodes would not be too invasive or distracting for a period of about an hour, and the low power requirement and real time data would be helpful in the field.

I cannot speak for the technical details of the circuits and signal processing, but the authors show some favorable results. Their primary focus was on clear, precise movements involved in tracking a white dot that moves only horizontally or vertically, which do not match up with the more varied eye movement in a classroom setting, but could be adapted. They note that trained subjects produce clearer results, which is not unexpected. Nevertheless, with some signal boosting and processing, the electrooculargram gives a clear indication of eye movement with even a simple instrument.

Looking at their results, researchers would have to have significant training to interpret them, which might be a significant setback for a real proposal. Unless their instrument can be adapted to produce results that are more intuitive to interpret or can be processed by another program to produce clearer graphs and figures, then the utility of eye tracking instruments might be limited.


Fricke, K., Sobot, R., & Dounavis, A. (n.d). Analogue portable electrooculogram real-time signal processor. International Journal Of Circuit Theory And Applications, 42(2), 195-208.