Internet Testing: The Examinee Perspective in .NET

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Internet Testing: The Examinee Perspective
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Michael M Harris, PhD
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University of Missouri St Louis, USA
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Although testing for employment, educational, and certi cation purposes has been conducted for many years, Internet-based testing is a relatively new area that has only recently become quite popular Much of the current research has focused on the test user s perspective, with an emphasis on psychometric differences between traditional (ie paper-and-pencil) testing and Internetbased testing So far, results have generally supported the equivalence of these two administration modalities Mead and Coussons-Read (2002) used a within-subjects design to assess the equivalence of the 16PF Questionnaire Sixty-four students were recruited from classes for extra credit and rst completed the paper-and-pencil version and about two weeks later the Internet version Cross-mode correlations ranged between 074 to 093 with a mean of 085, indicating relatively strong support for equivalence Reynolds, Sinar, and McClough (2000) examined the equivalence of a biodata-type instrument using 10,000 candidates who applied for an entry-level sales position Similar to Mead and Coussons-Read (2002), congruence coef cients among the various groups were very high However, another study (Ployhart, Weekley, Holtz, & Kemp, 2003) reported somewhat less positive results for a large group of actual applicants for a service job Speci cally, Ployhart et al found mean differences, as well as differences in test reliability, between Internet-based tests and paper-and-pencil tests Two critical questions, namely whether test validities or adverse impact ratios differ depending on whether the test is administered over the Internet or using paper-and-pencil materials, have yet to be addressed in the employment context (Harris, 2002) One published study, conducted in the educational domain, found that although validity coef cients were about the same for both computer-based and paperand-pencil based versions of a speeded reading comprehension test the average test scores were higher for the computer-based version (Pomplun, Frey, & Becker, 2002)
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Computer-Based Testing and the Internet: Issues and Advances Edited by D Bartram and R K Hambleton # 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
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COMPUTER-BASED TESTING AND THE INTERNET
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This chapter takes a different focus, addressing examinee reactions to internet-based testing Interest in test-taker reactions is a relatively new phenomenon Landy and Shankster (1994) went so far as to argue that interest in test-taker reactions heralded a major paradigmatic shift in the eld of I/O psychology Regardless, there is a growing literature that indicates test-taker reactions is an important variable for both practical and theoretical reasons While there has been relatively little work investigating examinee reactions to Internet-based testing programs, Anderson (2003) provides a critical review of this area and presents a broad theoretical framework for understanding job applicant and recruiter reactions to new technology This chapter takes a more narrow approach, highlighting three important antecedents to test-taker reactions and suggesting some potentially important moderators The remainder of this chapter is divided into ve sections First, I discuss several consequences of test-taker reactions I then review three determinants of test-taker reactions: procedural justice perceptions, organizational privacy perceptions, and test-taking motivation (and in particular, computer anxiety), in the next three sections respectively Finally, I offer some practical suggestions for organizations concerned with maintaining positive test-taker reactions Before I begin to discuss test-taker reactions, however, it is important to de ne Internet-based testing The simplest de nition is that Internet-based testing is a procedure that uses the Internet or Intranet for administering a test Beyond this simple de nition, Lievens and Harris (2003) observed that Internet-based testing may vary in terms of several aspects I will address only two of these: the type of test and the test administration conditions The type of test that is being administered has rarely been made the focus of discussions of Internet testing I believe, however, that the type of test being used may have an important effect on examinee reactions to an Internet-based administration For example, if very personal questions are asked over the Internet, test-takers may be more concerned with privacy issues than if the same questions are asked in a paper-and-pencil format Conversely, a cognitive ability test administered through the Internet may be more affected by computer anxiety than the same test administered via a paper-pencil mode Thus, I would expect that the type of test at issue will affect the importance of each of the antecedents in the model Test administration can vary along several dimensions, including whether an actual live test administrator is present, the type of user interface (eg, can the test-taker return to an earlier item ), and the technology used (eg the speed of the connection) It is therefore important to bear in mind that different approaches to Internet-based testing may elicit different test-taker reactions (Reynolds & Lin, 2003) and therefore results using one approach to Internet-based testing (eg a proctored examination) will not necessarily generalize to a different approach to Internet-based testing (eg a nonproctored examination) Figure 61 provides an overview of this chapter As shown in Figure 61, there are three determinants of test-taker reactions (ie organizational justice
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