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Education Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

2015

Numeracy

Educational measurement

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Full-Text Articles in Education

Effects Of Reducing The Cognitive Load Of Mathematics Test Items On Student Performance, Susan C. Gillmor, John Poggio, Susan Embretson Jan 2015

Effects Of Reducing The Cognitive Load Of Mathematics Test Items On Student Performance, Susan C. Gillmor, John Poggio, Susan Embretson

Numeracy

This study explores a new item-writing framework for improving the validity of math assessment items. The authors transfer insights from Cognitive Load Theory (CLT), traditionally used in instructional design, to educational measurement. Fifteen, multiple-choice math assessment items were modified using research-based strategies for reducing extraneous cognitive load. An experimental design with 222 middle-school students tested the effects of the reduced cognitive load items on student performance and anxiety. Significant findings confirm the main research hypothesis that reducing the cognitive load of math assessment items improves student performance. Three load-reducing item modifications are identified as particularly effective for reducing item difficulty ...