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The Effect of Test Speededness on Subgroup Performance GMAT SAT

Lawrence, Ida M.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Difficulty Level, Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), Performance Factors, Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), Test Items, Test Speededness, Test Takers, Test Taking Behavior


(66pp.) The purpose of this study was to gauge the disadvantage, if any, of reaching difficult items that appear earlier in a test, at the expense of not reaching easier items that appear later in a test. The study focused on SAT and GMAT data and examined the effect for the following focal groups: females, Asian Americans, Blacks, and Hispanics. The impact of differential test speededness on subgroup differences in test scores was found to be minimal for SAT Mathematical and GMAT Quantitative tests. However, there appears to be a relationship between the presence of differential speededness on the SAT Verbal test and subgroup differences in test performance; after matching on total score, Black and Hispanic examinees receive credit for more difficult sets of items in the SAT Verbal test, relative to White examinees. Due to smaller sample sizes, findings for the GMAT Verbal tests were not as clear-cut as the findings for the SAT Verbal tests. This research attempted to provide a technique for assessing the circumstances under which the effect of test speededness has a differential effect on the performance of subgroups, when differences in ability are taken into consideration. As is the case with all nonexperimental research on test speededness, the results of this study cannot predict how examinees would have performed with a shorter test, or more liberal time limits, because test strategies might have been different under those conditions.

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