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"The Effect of Reading Test Mode Interchangeability and Student Assessment Preferences"
Computer-based testing (CBT) in education is on the rise; however, researchers question
the interchangeability of CBT and pencil-based testing (PBT). Educators and leaders need to consider test mode interchangeability and student assessment preference prior to adopting CBT in K-8 schools. Following the new literacies theory, this mixed methods study examined test mode preference, the effect on achievement, and factors that influenced student preferences. Research questions investigated participants’ computer attitudes and use to determine test mode preference, the impact of test mode and test mode preference on achievement, and factors that influence testing preferences. This sequential explanatory within-group design included 2 online surveys and 2 reading tests in CBT and PBT formats. Paired-sample t tests were used to analyze reading test data preferred and nonpreferred test modes and across CBT and PBT test modes. Qualitative themes were generated and coded using an inductive approach, and patterns among data were analyzed. Findings revealed that all participants used technology regularly at home and at school, and most students preferred CBT over PBT. Quantitatively, there were no significant differences in reading achievement between students’ preferred and nonpreferred test modes or between CBT and PBT test formats. Qualitative analysis indicated that students who chose PBT as their preferred test mode did so due to their familiarity with the format. Overall, results supported the idea that CBT and PBT were interchangeable. Implications for positive social change include increasing teachers’ effective use of testing modes to improve student confidence, which may translate into improved student achievement.