Figural-Response Assessment: System Development and Pilot Research in Cell and Molecular Biology

Martinez, Michael E.; Jenkins, Jeffrey B.
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Biology tests cell biology computer assisted testing constructed responses frame molecular biology test construction


The purpose of the GRE figural-response project was to design a proto-type assessment system for delivering and scoring figural-response items in the domain of cell and molecular biology, and to begin to investigate properties of the item format. This report describes progress to date in an effort that is intended to be continuous and lead to program implementation. We first describe features of the delivery system and give sample items; ancillary developments, such as a tutorial, are also noted. Then, findings from a pilot research study are described. The essence of the pilot study was to examine the relationships between two item types (figural-response and open-ended verbal questions) and measures of figural and verbal ability. The data hint that whereas verbal items draw from verbal ability, figural-response items draw from figural and verbal ability. The report concludes with a discussion of possible new directions for research, development, and eventual program use of the item format.

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