Q&A | FAR-LeaF Fellow Jumoke Oladele

FAR-LeaF Fellow Jumoke Oladele recently had the opportunity to share her research at the 2022 conference of International Associates of Computerised Adaptive Testing (IACAT) at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Professionals, scholars, and students from all parts of the world converged here to share their knowledge and experiences in workshops, keynote lectures, thematic paper sessions and symposia at the “best and most comprehensive account of Computerised Adaptive Testing (CAT) research to be found worldwide”.

Conference host Andreas Frey said: “In addition to numerous contributions based on the traditional understanding of CAT as a method to measure individual differences, the program included several presentations that bridge the gap to artificial intelligence on the one hand and to adaptive systems that combine learning and testing on the other. In my estimation, the future development of CAT as a research and development area will largely depend on the extent to which we succeed in combining the traditional psychometric core of CAT with these current trends. This year's program indicated that the CAT community is moving in this forward-looking direction.”

Dr Oladele’s presentation was based on her current research which is centred on Developing a computerised adaptive test for evaluating students’ mental well-being post-COVID-19.

The first phase of her research has produced a bank of 377 items which is the product of a joint effort of top-notch professionals in related fields. At the IACAT 2022, Dr Oladele was privileged to share her analysis's preliminary findings, which revealed 344 items fitting the study measurement model. In the second phase of her study, these items will be calibrated in developing the computer adaptive mental well-being scale for university undergraduates.

Why is it important for scholars from the African continent to present their work at international conferences?

Dr Oladele noted that Computerised Adaptive Testing has been extensively explored in developed countries while it is an opening area of research in Africa. “About 99.9% of the conference attendees were from developed countries and sharing my findings at the 2022 IACAT Conference gave me the opportunity for feedback from established researchers in the field. The feedback from the conference is important for ensuring that the foundation of my research is well-shaped”.

The African brain drain remains a concern. What can be done to ensure that research is done for Africa by Africa?

The African brain drain can be curbed when researchers in Africa are given the opportunities to interact with top-notch researchers through international conferences, which enhances research and self-worth. This is a golden opportunity Jumoke Oladele enjoyed as a research fellow with Future Africa Institute!

We got used to online and now hybrid conferences. What is the value-add for you at face-to-face conferences?

The IACAT conference was the first opportunity for Dr Oladele to attend a face-to-face conference after the COVID-19 pandemic. She found that the face-to-face meeting was especially rewarding in giving her the opportunity to share her research with authorities in the field of CAT, including Prof. Wim J. van der Linden, a Professor Emeritus of Measurement and Data Analysis, University of Twente; Kyung T. Han, Graduate Management Admission Council, USA; Dr Nathan Thompson of Assessment Systems Corporation, USA, and Angela Verschoor, a Senior Researcher at Cito, the Netherlands who chaired her session and gave insightful contributions. “Interacting with scholars I have cited in my research and new ones with prospects for research collaboration was elating”.

How is the FAR-LeaF Fellowship enabling you to achieve both your research and your career goals?

Dr Oladele: A major post-PhD goal is to improve my knowledge of psychometry as a major aspect of my educational measurement and evaluation specialist career. My FAR-LeaF research is centred on this, and the fellowship award received is helping me in great measures to actualise this goal. I am indeed grateful for this opportunity, and I intend not only to meet expectations in terms of my research outputs but to exceed them. These outputs would also count for my career as an academic while providing a solution to the wicked and exacerbated mental well-being challenges post-COVID-19 as a support system for university undergraduates.

Heidi Sonnekus | FAR-LeaF Program


The Future Africa Research Leader Fellowship (FAR-LeaF) is a fellowship programme, focussed on developing transdisciplinary research and leadership skills, to address the complex, inter-linked challenges of health, well-being, and environmental risks in Africa.