Test Anxiety, Computer -Adaptive Testing, and the Common Core

Nicole Makas Colwell


This paper highlights the current findings and issues regarding the role of computer-adaptive testing in test anxiety.  The computer-adaptive test (CAT) proposed by one of the Common Core consortia brings these issues to the forefront. Research has long indicated that test anxiety impairs student performance.  More recent research indicates that taking a test in a CAT format can affect the ability estimates of students with test anxiety.  Inaccurate measures of ability are disconcerting because of the threat they pose to the validity of test score interpretation. This paper raises concerns regarding how the implementation of a computer-adaptive test for a large-scale common core assessment system could differentially affect students with test anxiety.  Issues of fairness and score comparability are raised, and the implications of these issues are discussed.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/jets.v1i2.101


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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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