Cognitive Design Principles and the Successful Performer: A Study on Spatial Ability
Embretson, Susan E.
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An important trend in educational measurement is the use of principles of cognitive psychology to design achievement and ability test items. Many studies show that manipulating the stimulus features of items influences the processes, strategies, and knowledge structures that are involved in solution. However, little is known about how cognitive design influences individual differences. That is, does applying cognitive design principles change the background skills and abilities that are associated with successful performance? This study compared the correlates of two spatial ability tests that used the same item type but different test design principles (cognitive design versus psychometric design). The results indicated differences in factorial complexity in the two tests; specifically, the impact of verbal abilities was substantially reduced by applying the cognitive design principles.