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The Testing Situation as a Positive Source of Influence NICHD

Mulry, Ray C.; Roberts, Michael
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), Conceptual Tempo, Test Taking Behavior, Test Theory, Testing


The present study was concerned with the control of reflective effort during testing and with the effects of different testing situations in the determination of an increase in this behavior. Greatest reflective effort was predicted on difficult items in situations which emphasize to respondents that their test responses are of significance and do lead to personally relevant consequences. As predicted, reflective effort, as measured by the time taken to answer individual items, increased on difficult items as consequences of testing increased. Moreover, longest latencies were obtained on difficult items in the testing situation of greatest consequence and shortest latencies were obtained on easy items in the testing situation of least consequence. It is our contention that the unobtrusive measure of reflective effort is a useful incidental test-taking behavior which can provide important information about the nature of the test-taking process.

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