Modeling Differential Working Speed in Educational Testing (RR 14-05)

Executive Summary

Many standardized tests are now administered via computer rather than paper-and-pencil format. The computer-based delivery mode brings with it certain advantages, one of which is the ability to record not only the test taker’s response to each item (i.e., question), but also the amount of time the test taker spends considering and answering each item. Research on how to represent and utilize response time data has proliferated, but most of the research is based on the assumption of constant working speed in relation to a certain accuracy level.

This study proposes a modeling of response times that allows for differential working speed during a test. An approach is also proposed for identifying working speed differences between groups. Both modeling procedures are applied to real test-taker data to identify test takers exhibiting variable working speed or large deviations in working speed.

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