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The Equivalence of Scores from Automated and Conventional Educational and Psychological Tests. A Review of the Literature CAT

Mazzeo, John; Harvey, Anne L.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
RR-88-21, CBR-88-08
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
College Board, Computer Assisted Testing, Equated Scores, Literature Reviews, Response Style (Tests), Test Format


A literature review was conducted to determine the current state of knowledge concerning the effects of the computer administration of standardized educational and psychological tests on the psychometric properties of these instruments. Studies were grouped according to a number of factors relevant to the administration of tests by computer. Based on the studies reviewed, we arrived at the following conclusions: 1. The rate at which test takers omit items in an automated test may differ from the rate at which they omit items in a conventional presentation. 2. Scores on tests from automated versions of personality inventories such as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory are lower than scores obtained in the conventional testing format. These differences may result in part from differing omit rates, as described above, but some of the differences may be caused by other factors. 3. Scores from automated versions of speed tests are not likely to be comparable with scores from paper-and-pencil versions. 4. The presentation of graphics in an automated test may have an effect on score equivalence. Such effects were obtained in studies using the Hidden Figures Test. However, in studies with three Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tests, effects were not found. 5. Tests containing items based on reading passages can become more difficult when presented on a CRT. This was demonstrated in a single study with the ASVAB tests. 6. The possibility of such asymmetric practice effects may make it wise to avoid conducting equating studies based on single-group counter-balanced designs. (31pp.)

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