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A predictive validity study of computer adaptive placement tests for Tennessee higher education institutions

, The University of Tennessee, United States

The University of Tennessee . Awarded


Assessment of basic skills proficiency allows higher education institutions to recognize and appropriately recommend remedial/developmental coursework for underprepared students. Traditionally, placement assessment has been administered through paper/pencil examinations, but modern measurement theory has introduced computer adaptive testing tailored to individual examinees. The question of the effectiveness and efficiency of basic skills assessment through computer adaptive testing gave impetus to this study.

The predictive validity of three assessment instruments designed for placement of underprepared students was determined specifically for the remedial/developmental program in Tennessee. Computerized Placement Tests (CPTs) developed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), and Computer-Adaptive Placement Assessment and Support System (COMPASS) developed by the American College Testing Program (ACT) were the two computer adaptive instruments evaluated in addition to the paper/pencil instrument, the Academic and Assessment Placement Program (AAPP), currently administered by Tennessee Board of Regents colleges and universities. The foundation for the study was established through a review of proficiency testing, an outline of advantages and disadvantages of computer adaptive testing, and a brief history of developmental education. Examinee results of the currently administered paper/pencil instrument were correlated to student grades in comparison to CPTs and COMPASS to determine the instrument with the best predictive validity.

The Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient and independent sample chi-square tests were the statistical tools utilized to determine the relationships between the three assessment instruments and examinee success in remedial/developmental mathematics courses. The design of the study was structured by the three levels of remedial/developmental mathematics since grades were collected specifically in the three courses, Basic Mathematics, Elementary Algebra, and Intermediate Algebra.

Results of the predictive validity study for Basic Mathematics indicated further investigation is necessary to determine if the currently administered AAPP pretest or computer adaptive tests best predict student success. CPTs provided the best predictive validity for success in Elementary Algebra, according to the chi-square analysis and correlation coefficient. A small number of placement scores collected for Intermediate Algebra limited possible conclusions drawn from this analysis.

The literature review and analyses results indicate computer adaptive testing as a viable method of assessment for consideration by the Tennessee remedial/developmental program.


Day, C.L. A predictive validity study of computer adaptive placement tests for Tennessee higher education institutions. Ph.D. thesis, The University of Tennessee. Retrieved September 23, 2021 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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