UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Using think aloud protocols in the validity investigation of an assessment of complex thinking Lyons-Thomas, Juliette


Validation requires the collection of evidence that supports inferences from an assessment. Think aloud protocols (TAPs) are one method of collecting validity evidence for assessments; however this technique is rarely used in validity investigations of complex thinking. The first research question investigated the use of TAPs as a method of validation for assessments of complex thinking. Specifically, the research explored how TAPs add to validity investigations beyond the information that psychometric analyses provide. TAPs were collected from 35 students using a historical thinking measure. A large-scale administration of the same assessment to 441 students provided data for the psychometric analyses. The TAP data were coded and compared to the psychometric data in order to investigate the first research question. It was found that TAPs are valuable by providing information that is consistent with psychometric evidence. Furthermore, TAPs also provide information that cannot be obtained using traditional psychometric methods. The second research question examined accuracy of data from TAPs from the perspective of test takers. After taking part in the TAPs, students were asked to reflect on their verbalizations after they had finished their session. This information guided the investigation of verification of TAPs. The findings from this research show that students view TAPs as accurate reflections of their thought processes. Additionally, student responses provided important information about the factors that may facilitate or hinder the accuracy of TAPs. Possible implications and future directions for both research questions are discussed.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada