Use of Writing Samples on Standardized Tests

Susceptibility to Rule-Based Coaching and the Resulting Effects on Score Improvement

Published in: Applied Measurement In Education, v. 21 no. 3, Sep. 2008, p. 227-252

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2008

by Chaitra M. Hardison, Paul R Sackett

Despite the growing use of writing assessments in standardized tests, little is known about coaching effects on writing assessments. Therefore, this study tested the effects of short-term coaching on standardized writing tests, and the transfer of those effects to other writing genres. College freshmen were randomly assigned to either training (receiving nine hours of rule-based coaching) or a control group. Both groups completed pretest essays on the first day, and posttest and transfer essays (writing in a different genre) on the last day of the experiment. Group membership (training versus control) and an interaction between pretest scores and group membership were significant predictors of posttest scores after controlling for pretest performance. Training also produced higher transfer task scores after controlling for pretest and ACT scores. Implications are discussed.

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