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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Test-wiseness : its effect on the supply items of the British Columbia provincial examinations for grade twelve students Vanchu, Michelle Mae


Test-wiseness, possessed in different amounts by different individuals, is the ability to use test format, test characteristics, and/or the testing situation to receive a high score. As such, test-wiseness is an unwanted source of variance which can inflate test scores, thus invalidating test results. Problems of inappropriate interpretation may arise when test scores are affected by test-wiseness. The present study addressed the relationship between test-wiseness and English ability, as measured by the British Columbia Provincial English 12 Examination for June of 1989. The English 12 examination contained both selection and supply items. This provided an opportunity to examine both types of items and their relationship to test-wiseness. Previous research had focussed on selection items. To provide a framework for understanding and presenting the results the present research was divided into two substudies. Substudy I addressed questions concerning the nature and strength of the relationship of test-wiseness to the selection, short-answer, and extended-answer items of the English 12 examination. The selection items of the English 12 examination provided reference for interpreting the results for the short-answer and extended-answer items. Test scores were adjusted for the presence of verbal ability and it was found, as previous research indicated, that test-wiseness and verbal ability were moderately correlated. To further clarify the concept of test-wiseness, differences between test-wise and test-naive students were examined in terms of means and variability on selection, short-answer, and extended-answer items of the English 12 examination. The results of the study are based on test data for 735 students collected from April to June of 1989. Each student completed the Test of Test-Wiseness (TTW), Language Proficiency Index (LPI), and a form containing ethnographic information. Test scores for the English 12 examination were provided by the Ministry. Based on the analyses of test data for 735 grade twelve students, test-wiseness accounted for less than four percent of the variance on the English 12 examination for selection, short-answer, and extended-answer items on Substudy I. These results were found to be statistically significant. Results for Substudy II indicated that there were differences between test-wise and test-naive students in terms of means for the selection and short-answer items. Results for the extended-answer (essay) item were non-significant. There were no differences in variability between the test-wise and test-naive samples for any of the item types. The results of the present study will be of interest to those involved in constructing the English 12 examination, as well as grade 12 teachers and students. The test score on the English 12 examination accounts for 40% of a student's English 12 final grade, with a student's graduation or failure based upon these results. As such, English 12 examination scores should be as accurate and valid as possible.

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