Journal article

Are test and academic disengagement related? Implications for measurement and practice


By: Emily Wolk, Sharon Bi, Tran Keys


A vast literature investigates academic disengagement among students, including its ultimate manifestation, dropping out of school. Research also shows that test disengagement can be a problem for many inferences educators and policymakers wish to draw from test scores. However, few studies consider whether academic and test disengagement are related. In this study, we examine whether behaviors indicative of academic disengagement like chronic absenteeism and course failures are related to behaviors indicative of test disengagement like rapidly guessing on items. We also examine whether social-emotional factors like low academic self-efficacy and self-management, which research suggests are the root causes of academic disengagement, are also related to rapid guessing behavior. Our results provide evidence that academic and test disengagement are related, including through a common association with poor self-management. The implications of this connection for measurement and practice are discussed.

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This article was published outside of NWEA. The full text can be found at the link above.

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