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'It was, Perhaps, the Most Important One': Students' Perceptions of National Tests in Terms of Test-Taking Motivation
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1861-6589
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2019 (English)In: Assessment in education: Principles, Policy & Practice, ISSN 0969-594X, E-ISSN 1465-329X, Vol. 26, no 2, p. 202-221Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study was to examine ninth-grade students' perception of a Swedish national test in science (high-stakes for the students) and a field trial (low-stakes for the students), in terms of test-taking motivation. The study is based on semi-structured interviews with 12 students. Overall, the students had a positive perception of the national test; they were motivated to do their best, believed they did well and found the test important and good. Several students were nervous before the test and some during the test whereas others felt okay, or even enjoyed taking the national test. The students talked about less effort and test anxiety in the field trial and perceived the test as less important compared to the national test. The interviews provided a rich understanding of the different aspects of test-taking motivation as described by the expectancy-value theory. Furthermore, they indicated how the test administration could be adjusted so as to achieve higher test validity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Group, 2019. Vol. 26, no 2, p. 202-221
Keywords [en]
Test-taking motivation, students' perception, national test, expectancy-value theory
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
didactics of educational measurement
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-131024DOI: 10.1080/0969594X.2017.1323725ISI: 000465911000006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-131024DiVA, id: diva2:1070807
Note

Originally included in thesis in manuscript form

Available from: 2017-02-02 Created: 2017-02-02 Last updated: 2019-05-21Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Motivational aspects of test-taking: measuring test-taking motivation in Swedish national test contexts
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Motivational aspects of test-taking: measuring test-taking motivation in Swedish national test contexts
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The overall aim of the work underlying this thesis was to improve the understanding of students’ test-taking motivation in connection to achievement tests for young adolescents. The thesis includes four studies and a summary. All four studies explore test-taking motivation and are all connected to validity in one way of another. The expectancy-value theory of achievement motivation was used as a theoretical framework in the operationalization and measurement of test-taking motivation and the achievement tests in focus were the Swedish national test in science for grade nine students, a Swedish national test in mathematics for upper secondary students and field trials for both these tests.

In the first study psychometric properties of an expectancy-value based questionnaire measuring five aspects of test-taking motivation were evaluated. Findings provided support for construct validity, as internal structure of the data corresponded to the theoretical model, partial scalar invariance was obtained and correlations between test-taking motivation and test performance were found. In the second study the students’ test-taking motivation at the field trial and the national test were analysed in more detail. The analyses showed a significant increase in all test-taking motivation aspects between the field trial and the regular national test. Test-taking motivation at the field trial did also differ between school classes and test anxiety and expectancies differed between females and males. Further, effort, expectancies, importance and interest were significant predictors of test score after preliminary grades had been accounted for. The third study was an interview study aiming to examine students’ test-taking motivation at national test as well as the field trial in more depth. The interviews provided a rich understanding of the different aspects of test-taking motivation as described by the expectancy-value theory, for example why students find the national test important and what they mean by giving effort to a test. In the fourth study psychometric properties of an extended and revised test-taking motivation questionnaire were evaluated in a new sample of students. The analysis showed that the questionnaire had sound psychometric properties and supported the assumption that test-taking motivation consists of several distinctly different aspects, but also showed that the different subscales are highly related.

In conclusion, the results provide support for several aspects of construct validity of the test-taking motivation questionnaire. Further, all studies showed that test-taking motivation differ between test with different stakes as well as between students and classes taking similar tests. Test-taking motivation also seem to affect test results. Thus, all students do not seem to be equally motivated to do their best on all tests and consideration should be taken to how students approach and experience each specific test when planning and interpreting achievement tests. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2017. p. 63
Series
Academic dissertations at the department of Educational Measurement, ISSN 1652-9650 ; 9
Keywords
Test-taking motivation, Swedish national tests, validity, expectancy-value theory, task value, expectancies, young adolescents, self-report instrument, interview, structural equation modelling, test stakes
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
didactics of educational measurement
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-131028 (URN)978-91-7601-672-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-03-03, Hörsal 1031, Norra beteendevetarhuset, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2012-5075
Available from: 2017-02-10 Created: 2017-02-02 Last updated: 2018-06-09Bibliographically approved

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Knekta, EvaSundström, Anna

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