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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Noncognitive Variables for Placement: A Randomized Control Trial
by Keating, Katrina Ann, Ed.D., San Francisco State University, 2018, 236; 10822840
Abstract (Summary)

This study was born out of a concern that U.S. community colleges were currently using or considering using noncognitive variables for academic placement without an understanding of how students would react to these scales in a high-stakes setting. While the use of noncognitive variables for placement often stems from a desire to overcome the myriad of limitations of content-based placement tests, the researcher was concerned that noncognitive variables had the potential to become an extension of the problems caused by the test.

This study was guided by two research questions: How does the high-stakes nature of academic placement impact student responses on noncognitive scales? How does the context, demand, characteristics, and framing of the noncognitive variables impact stereotype threat, if at all? The researcher performed a random control trial of incoming community college students to determine how they might react to questions about noncognitive variables. One group was told their responses would be used for placement, and the other was told that their responses would be used to improve instruction.

The major findings suggest that initial framing played a role in participant responses and lowered responses on some noncognitive variables, but that the act of having taken a placement test was also a moderator of student behavior and whether or not students believed the initial framing. Stereotype threat susceptibility appeared to have a statistically significant relationship with some participants’ responses on some noncognitive scales, and there was evidence that initial framing was not related. Finally, while participants were generally honest, those who did change their answers did so in a manner that was inconsistent, more so when given high stakes framing.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kysh, Judith
Commitee: Hayward, Craig, Hsu, Eric
School: San Francisco State University
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 80/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational tests & measurements, Education, Higher education
Keywords: Assessment, Community college, High stakes framing, Noncognitive variables, Placement, Stereotype threat
Publication Number: 10822840
ISBN: 978-0-438-70499-2
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