Doctoral Research Fellow profile: Kondwani Kajera Mughogho
Doctoral Research Fellow candidate, Kondwani Kajera Mughogho, will defend his thesis on the 24th February, as the second person to do so at CEMO. We made an interview with him, and you can read about him and his research here.
PhD candidate Kondwani Kajera Mughogho.
Photo: Maoxin Zhang/CEMO.
What is your background? Tell us a little about what you were doing before you joined CEMO.
I joined the public service in Malawi in 2006 after the completion of my Bachelor of Science (Technical Education) which I obtained from the Malawi Polytechnic, a constituent college of the University of Malawi. I was stationed at Bwaila Secondary School where I was a mathematics and technical drawing teacher for 10 years. I held several portfolio at the school, and rose to the rank of Head of Science Department in 2013. Concurrently, I received my Master of Education in Testing, Measurement and Evaluation from the Chancellor College, a constituent college of the University of Malawi in 2013. The purpose of my Master’s thesis was to see whether the length of an anchor test was a necessary precondition for equating two test forms under the common items non-equivalent groups design using the Tucker mean, Levine mean, Tucker linear, Levine linear, and chained linear equating methods. I have also held several part-time lecturing positions in Statistics and Psychology at the Malawi College of Health Sciences and Daeyang University respectively. I am currently working in the Embracing Heterogeneity in International Large Scale Assessments Project.
What is your research about?
In spite of a body of research into subscale score reporting at the individual level, there exists a paucity of research into subscale score estimation in international large-scale assessment (ILSA). My research aimed at evaluating the typically available methods for subscale score estimation in order to identify a model that was suitable for item parameter estimation, population score estimation, and reporting valuable subscale scores. In addition, I intend to examine the models in order to identify the better fitting model.
Why did you choose this research topic?
Research has pointed out several benefits of reporting subscale scores. In an ILSA context, subscale scores may provide diagnostic information to differentiate aspects of achievement at the population and subpopulation level. For example, reporting subscale scores on the Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality’s (SACMEQ’s) HIV-AIDS knowledge test may expose more targeted gaps in HIV-AIDS knowledge. However, these subscale scores (a) are often not reported at all, or (b) may be estimated using methods that may not be suitable. The key motivation of my research was to provide practitioners with general guidelines when it comes to estimating subscale scores under different test specifications in an ILSA context.
What do you hope to discover from your research?
I hope that the findings presented in my research advance the existing knowledge about subscale score estimation by extending the conversation to an ILSA context. I hope that the findings from my research can inform test practitioners as to the selection of the most appropriate subscale score estimation method.
What are some of your most significant current findings?
In my research, I argue that different subscale score estimation methods may be more optimal under different test conditions (i.e., test length or subscale correlation) and sample composition (i.e., single or multiple groups). In addition, my findings show that the choice of model may depend on the practitioner’s primary concern (i.e., item- or score-parameter estimates; subscale value; or model fit).
Why is your research and research findings important?
My research contributes to informing the choice of model in an ILSA context. As more countries participate in ILSA, the findings from my study would be relevant to identifying the psychometrically best models when the sample of participants becomes more diverse with regards to performance.
What does a typical work day look like for you?
A typical workday starts with me reading the news to catch up on world events. I then read and respond to emails. Most of my time is split between writing, working on data analysis, and reading. I also have tasks that are delegated to me occasionally, and I pursue these with diligence. Ultimately, I end my day by analyzing what I have achieved, and what's outstanding. I use this to draft my to-do-list/plan for the following day.
What would you have done research on if you were awarded 50 mill NOK in research funding?
Malawi is a country that has a population of just over 18 million people. The country is culturally diverse, with over 13 tribes. If I had 50 million NOK in research funding, I would have embarked on a longitudinal study that would aim at identifying policy relevant factors that influence educational achievement and other educational outcomes in the various regions of Malawi. Using numerous data sources and quantitative methods, I would like the findings of such research to contribute to educational policy thus improving the educational system.
What career path do you wish for after your doctorate, and what is your dream job?
I am willing to pursue a job where my skills, training, and expertise would be an asset. My dream job is one that can provide a conducive, nurturing, and supportive environment to develop, continue to learn, and grow within the field of educational measurement. I would also like to pursue a job where I can contribute to improving the education in Malawi.
Do you have any tips for people who are considering a research career or a doctorate? Perhaps you would like to share some words of wisdom?
If you are up for it, take a leap of faith. It is fun, challenging, and fulfilling. Stay positive and know that you are not alone.