Journal article

A general approach to measuring test-taking effort on computer-based tests


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Applied Measurement in Education, 30(4), 343–354.

By: Steven Wise, Lingyun Gao


There has been an increased interest in the impact of unmotivated test taking on test performance and score validity. This has led to the development of new ways of measuring test-taking effort based on item response time. In particular, Response Time Effort (RTE) has been shown to provide an assessment of effort down to the level of individual item responses. A limitation of RTE, however, is that it is intended for use with selected response items that must be answered before a test taker can move on to the next item. The current study outlines a general process for measuring item-level effort that can be applied to an expanded set of item types and test-taking behaviors (such as omitted or constructed responses). This process, which is illustrated with data from a large-scale assessment program, should improve our ability to detect non-effortful test taking and perform individual score validation.

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