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Measuring Motivation in Low-Stakes Assessments

Finn, Bridgid
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ETS Research Report
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Low-Stakes Assessment Motivation Self Report Measures Teacher Accountability Test Performance


There is a growing concern that when scores from low-stakes assessments are reported without considering student motivation as a construct of interest, biased conclusions about how much students know will result. Low motivation is a problem particularly relevant to low-stakes testing scenarios, which may be low stakes for the test taker but have considerable consequences for teachers, school districts, or educational and governmental institutions. The current review addresses the impact of motivation on assessment scores and research that have identified methods for minimizing the error introduced by unmotivated test takers. A comprehensive review of the test conditions that have been shown to influence motivation is provided. In addition, the review identifies a number of circumstances under which motivation can be enhanced or diminished. The benefits and limitations of the various measurement techniques that have been used to mitigate the negative impact of low-motivation test takers on score interpretation are discussed.

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