The Relationship Between Effort and Performance on a Low-Stakes Exam Across High School and College Freshmen

Zachary G. C. Kornhauser and Jessalynn K. James | 2015 | ERIC

Low-stakes assessments are commonly used in educational institutions as measures of student learning, but suffer from some threats to validity. Low-student motivation is one issue facing the validity of these assessments, as research has found student motivation to impact performance on low-stakes exams. The current study aimed to determine (a) if effort on a low-stakes exam is consistent across both high school and college freshmen, (b) if the relationship between effort and performance is consistent across high school and college freshmen, and (c) if effort on a low-stakes exam is dependent on the type of task students are presented with. Results indicate that high school students expended more effort than did college students on a low-stakes assessment, and that effort was higher for essay-based items than multiple-choice items for both high school and college students.

High school students experienced a steeper drop-off in self-reported motivation than did college students.