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Consistency of Performance in Simulated Situations

Frederiksen, Norman O.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Office of Naval Research, Behavior Rating Scales, Personality Measures, Self Evaluation (Individuals), Situational Tests, Test Reliability


This paper is concerned with the amount of consistency displayed by subjects in simulated situations which vary in amount of similarity to one another. Odd-even reliabilities measured consistency of performance within a situation, while "alternate form" reliabilities measured consistency between administrative performance in which 232 elementary school principals took four in-basket tests. In three of the in-basket situations the subjects played the role of principal of a simulated elementary school. In the fourth in-basket they acted as Executive Officer of a division of the Bureau of Business, a simulated situation which differed considerably from the school situation. Each half of the in-basket, composed of odd- or even-number items, was scored by a different scorer. For each of the four in-baskets, scores on 34 categories of behavior were selected for use in the present study. The odd-even and "alternate form" reliabilities of these scores were compared, in order to investigate consistency in behavior with in-baskets, between pairs of school in-baskets, and between school and Bureau of Business in-baskets. Conclusions included: 1) No marked differences found in odd-even reliabilities of scores from the school and business in-baskets; 2) odd-even reliabilities were markedly higher than the "alternate form" reliabilities for all in-baskets' 3) "alternate form" reliabilities were generally higher for pairs of a school and a business in-basket; and 4) influence of the background situation (school or business) on consistency of behavior was small compared with the difference between odd-even and "alternate form" reliability. (JGL)

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