Quantitative psychology student wins national research award


SUMMARY: Paulius Satkus, a first year student in the quantitative psychology concentration, received a 'Best Student Paper' Award.

By: Sara Finney
Psychological Sciences Program

Paulius Satkus

Paulius Satkus, a first year student in the quantitative psychology concentration in the psychological sciences master's program, received the “Best Student Paper Award” from the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) Measurement and Assessment in Higher Education Special Interest Group (SIG). This award is targeted to graduate students studying in the field of assessment in higher education and is awarded to a graduate student author with an exemplary paper within the SIG. After a rigorous review process, the team of reviewers voted unanimously to award Satkus with this distinction. The award will be presented during AERA’s national annual conference on April 13-17 in New York City. As part of the award, the SIG will arrange Satkus’ trip to and from the annual conference meeting, where he will be presenting the paper alongside co-authors Beth Perkins, first year doctoral student in the assessment & measurement program, and their faculty advisor Sara Finney.

The award winning paper is titled: Going Beyond Test-Taking Motivation: Students’ Emotional Reactions When Completing Tests for Institutional Accountability Mandates. In this paper, Satkus, Perkins and Finney studied test-taking motivation and test-taking emotions during a low-stakes accountability test. More specifically, evidence exists that test-taking effort relates to performance on low-stakes tests, thus researchers have investigated what influences students to be (un)motivated when completing these tests. Such knowledge is necessary if the goal is to increase students’ willingness to try their best on low-stakes tests. In the current study, Satkus, Finney and Perkins examined students’ emotions when completing a low-stakes institutional accountability test. A 29-item cognitive test was split into three parts (items 1-10 were the first “subtest”; 11-20 the second “subtest”; 21-29 the third “subtest”). A sample of 155 college students completed measures of emotions (i.e., anger, pride), perceived test importance, and test-taking effort after each of the three subtests. Given the longitudinal design, Satkus, Finney and Perkins were able to rigorously evaluate the often cited effect of perceived test importance on test-taking effort. Using a path model with cross-lagged effects, they uncovered that emotions were more predictive of test-taking effort than perceived test importance. Moreover, they uncovered that anger increased during the test, whereas pride decreased during the test. They argue for further exploration of the emotional reactions to low-stakes tests in order to inform interventions to elicit positive emotions. Currently, The Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (AERA, APA & NCME, 2014) recommends effort data be collected and used in interpretation of test scores. They argue that assessment-related emotions should also be considered when interpreting scores from low-stakes tests.

Published: Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 13, 2018

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