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New SAT Writing Prompt Study: Analyses of Group Impact and Reliability TSE SAT

Breland, Hunter M.; Kubota, Melvin Y.; Nickerson, Kristine; Trapani, Catherine S.; Walker, Michael E.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Communicative Competence, Graph Description Task, Visual Processing, Test of Spoken English (TSE), Ethnicity, Writing Prompts, Gender, Language, Reliability, SAT


This study investigated the impact on ethnic, language, and gender groups of a new kind of essay prompt type intended for use with the new SAT®. The study also generated estimates of the reliability of scores obtained using the prompts examined. To examine the impact of a new prompt type, random samples of eleventh grade students in 49 participating high schools were administered writing tests using four different prompts, two of an old type and two of a new type. To obtain estimates of the reliability of scores for the old and new types of prompts, schools were asked to participate in a second round of testing to occur four months after the initial testing. Results of the impact analyses revealed no significant prompt type effects for ethnic, gender, or language groups, although there were significant differences in mean scores for ethnic and gender groups for all prompts. The score reliability estimates obtained were similar to those obtained in previous studies.

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