Error-Flagging Support and Higher Test Scores


Amruth Kumar

Paper type: 
Full paper
7. 13:30-15:00, Thursday 30 June


Previously, providing error-flagging support during tests was reported to lead to higher scores. A follow-up controlled study was conducted to examine why, using partial crossover design. Two adaptive tutors were used in fall 2009 and spring 2010, and the data collected during their pre-test stage was analyzed. The findings are: (1) When a student solves a problem correctly on the first attempt, error-flagging support helps the student move on to the next problem more quickly without pausing to reconsider the answer. But, it may also encourage students to use error-flagging as an expedient substitute for their own judgment; (2) Given error-flagging support, many more students will arrive at the correct answer by revising their answer, which explains why students score higher with error-flagging; (3) Students will use error-flagging to reach the correct answer through trial and error even though the problems are not of multiple-choice nature. However, at least some students may engage in informed (as opposed to brute-force) trial and error. (4) Error-flagging support provided during tests could cost students time. (5) Given how often students move on after solving a problem incorrectly, without ever reconsidering their answer, providing error-flagging support during testing is still desirable.


Error-flagging, Testing, Adaptation, Evaluation