Borderline Regression Analysis in Assessment


Borderline regression analysis (BRA) is an absolute, examinee-centered standard setting method widely used to standard set OSCE exams, Yousuf, Violato, and Zuberi (2015). Candidates are awarded a “global score” for a station in a circuit, based on the examiner’s professional judgment of their ability.

Borderline Regression Analysis in Assessment

Borderline Regression Method is illustrated above using item score on the Y-axis and Global Ratings on the X-axis. 0=Fail, 1=Borderline, 2=Pass, 3=Good and 4=Excellent.

For a working example, in Qpercom’s OSCE Management Information System, Observe, three different types of Borderline Regression Analysis are available: 

1. Borderline Group Average 
2. Borderline Regression (forecast) Method 1
3. Borderline Regression (forecast) Method 2

Borderline Group Average takes the average of all examinees that scored ‘Borderline’ (1) and is considered as unreliable in case only a few (< 10) candidates are marked as borderline. In the latter case, Method 1 or 2 are recommended as they take into account all of the Global Rating Scores and not just the Borderline scores (Dwyer et al., 2016).

Borderline Regression Analysis Methods

The difference between Regression Method 1 and Regression Method 2 is the type of Global Rating Score (GRS) used. In Method 1, only 1 Borderline score (represented by 1) is used to mark candidates. In Method 2, scores for Borderline Fail (represented by 1) and Borderline Pass (represented by 2) are utilised. The cut-score in the latter case will be higher (6.53) than in Method 1 (5.99) as it is right in-between Borderline Pass and Borderline Fail (Homer, Pell, Fuller, & Patterson, 2016).

Standard setting procedures can be categorised as either exam-centered, in which the content of the test is reviewed by the expert judges (e.g., Angoff method), or examinee-centered, where expert decisions are based on the actual performance of the examinees, like in the BRM of Qpercom’s software.

The examiner rates the performance at each station by completing a checklist and a global rating scale. The checklist marks from all examinees at each station are then regressed on the attributed global rating scores, providing a linear equation. The global score representing borderline performance (e.g., 1 or 1 and 2 on the global performance rating scale) is substituted into the equation. This predicts the pass-fail cut-score for the checklist marks using the Forecast, method using the Intercept and 1 or 1.5 times the Slope of the Regression line.


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Yousuf, N., Violato, C., & Zuberi, R. W. (2015). Standard Setting Methods for Pass/Fail Decisions on High-Stakes Objective Structured Clinical Examinations: A Validity Study. Teach Learn Med, 27(3), 280-291. doi:10.1080/10401334.2015.1044749

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