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Investigating Differences in Examinee Performance Between Computer-based and Handwritten Essays CBT PPT PPST

Yu, Lei; Livingston, Samuel A.; Larkin, Kevin C.; Bonett, John
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Essay Tests, Essay Scoring, Computer-Based Testing (CBT), Paper and Pencil Tests (PPT), Praxis, Pre-Professional Skills Tests (PPST)


This study compared essay scores from paper-based and computer-based versions of a writing test for prospective teachers. Scores for essays in the paper-based version averaged nearly half a standard deviation higher than those in the computer-based version, after applying statistical control for demographic differences between the groups of examinees taking the two versions. The statistical control was implemented by means of a propensity score, applying weights to members of one group to match the propensity score distribution of the other group. The score difference between the groups did not change substantially when the analysis was restricted to examinees taking the same mix of essay topics or to examinees taking one particular essay.

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