Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Value-Added Assessment Using the Major Field Test in Business

Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Value-Added Assessment Using the Major Field Test in Business

Article excerpt


This research uses the Educational Testing Service (ETS) Major Field Test in Business (MFTB) to assess the value-added by an AACSB-International accredited undergraduate business program. The matched-pair design shows that on average, MFTB scores rise approximately 14 points, student score percentiles improve 31 points, and student z-scores increase one standard deviation. Upper level business core grade point average is a slightly better predictor of MFTB improvement than the upper level business grade point average. There is some evidence that the business concentration affects the change in MFTB score. Difficulties of value-added assessment are highlighted.


The Major Field Test in Business (MFTB) is sponsored by Higher Education Assessment of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and covers foundation course content taught in a typical undergraduate business program. The MFTB multiple-choice questions cover topics in eight areas: accounting, economics, management, quantitative business analysis and information systems, finance, marketing, legal and social environment, and international issues. The ETS reports (Judy Bennett, personal communication, August 17, 2007) that 143,349 seniors at 553 different schools have taken the MFTB from 2003 to 2006. ETS (2000) does not claim that its sample proportionally represents the various types of higher education institutions. Approximately thirty percent of the participating schools are accredited by AACSB International - The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Approximately thirty-five percent of all U.S. AACSB accredited schools use the MFTB. Rotondo (2005) presents a thorough summary of advantages and disadvantages of the use of the MFTB for assessment.

At our university, the MFTB has been used as an assessment tool in the fall and spring semesters since 1 998. The MFTB is included for assessment purposes since it offers the opportunity for the comparison of the student performance at the university with students at other universities, as well as, the comparison of our students over time. Other assessment methods are used to measure specific learning goals.

Assessment can be performance based (Does the student meet program standards?) or value-added based (Has the student gained knowledge?). Value-added assessment demonstrates the improvement in learning due to the student's program of study and generally utilizes a pre/post design to measure the change in student learning. This study focuses on the change in MFTB scores for students who took the exam as sophomores and then again as seniors. Thus, this is a matched-pair value-added study based on 68 students.

In the fall of 2000, as an additional form of assessment of the business program, we began administering the MFTB to a small sample of sophomores. Several references cited below indicate there are factors other than curriculum such as student ability, experience, gender, etc. which affect MFTB scores. We observed a few sophomores (who had not completed the business curriculum) scoring better than some seniors (who had completed the business curriculum). To reduce the influence of individual student characteristics and help isolate the impact of the curriculum on the test performance, we matched the senior score with the sophomore score for each student to create a change in score variable (matched-pair or dependent sample design). The intent was to measure the MFTB score improvement for each student and attribute the score improvement to the curriculum. By looking at the change in score for each student, we reduce the impact of student variability and are better able to isolate the impact of the curriculum. Of course, we expected student scores to improve reflecting the value-added nature of our business curriculum. We further expected the performance improvement to be related to business program performance as measured by business course grades. …

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