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The method of educational assessment affects children’s neural processing and performance: behavioural and fMRI Evidence

Journal Article


Abstract


  • Standardised educational assessments are now widespread, yet their development has given comparatively more consideration to

    what to assess than how to optimally assess students’ competencies. Existing evidence from behavioural studies with children and

    neuroscience studies with adults suggest that the method of assessment may affect neural processing and performance, but

    current evidence remains limited. To investigate the impact of assessment methods on neural processing and performance in

    young children, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to identify and quantify the neural correlates during performance

    across a range of current approaches to standardised spelling assessment. Results indicated that children’s test performance

    declined as the cognitive load of assessment method increased. Activation of neural nodes associated with working memory

    further suggests that this performance decline may be a consequence of a higher cognitive load, rather than the complexity of the

    content. These findings provide insights into principles of assessment (re)design, to ensure assessment results are an accurate

    reflection of students’ true levels of competency.

Publication Date


  • 2017

Citation


  • Howard, S. J., Burianova, H., Calleia, A., Fynes-Clinton, S., Kervin, L. & Bokosmaty, S. (2017). The method of educational assessment affects children’s neural processing and performance: behavioural and fMRI Evidence. n p j Science of Learning, 2 (10), 1-10.

Number Of Pages


  • 9

Start Page


  • 1

End Page


  • 10

Volume


  • 2

Issue


  • 10

Place Of Publication


  • United Kingdom

Abstract


  • Standardised educational assessments are now widespread, yet their development has given comparatively more consideration to

    what to assess than how to optimally assess students’ competencies. Existing evidence from behavioural studies with children and

    neuroscience studies with adults suggest that the method of assessment may affect neural processing and performance, but

    current evidence remains limited. To investigate the impact of assessment methods on neural processing and performance in

    young children, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to identify and quantify the neural correlates during performance

    across a range of current approaches to standardised spelling assessment. Results indicated that children’s test performance

    declined as the cognitive load of assessment method increased. Activation of neural nodes associated with working memory

    further suggests that this performance decline may be a consequence of a higher cognitive load, rather than the complexity of the

    content. These findings provide insights into principles of assessment (re)design, to ensure assessment results are an accurate

    reflection of students’ true levels of competency.

Publication Date


  • 2017

Citation


  • Howard, S. J., Burianova, H., Calleia, A., Fynes-Clinton, S., Kervin, L. & Bokosmaty, S. (2017). The method of educational assessment affects children’s neural processing and performance: behavioural and fMRI Evidence. n p j Science of Learning, 2 (10), 1-10.

Number Of Pages


  • 9

Start Page


  • 1

End Page


  • 10

Volume


  • 2

Issue


  • 10

Place Of Publication


  • United Kingdom