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Comparing the reading performance of high-achieving adolescents: Computer-based testing versus paper/pencil

, Seton Hall University, United States

Seton Hall University . Awarded


Literacy is moving into the digital context. Many of the literacy tasks associated with higher education, the workplace, and civic life now take place in the digital world. Literacy in high school, however, languishes in the text world. This study compared the text literacy of a group of high-achieving 10th-grade students, to their digital literacy. Participants took two standards-based critical reading tests: one paper and pencil (PPT) and one on the computer (CBT). The students also took a norm-referenced text assessment, the Preliminary Scholastic Achievement Test (PSAT).

The analysis compared the mean scores of the standards-based tests using a paired-samples t test with mode (text vs. digital) as the independent variable, and critical reading as the dependent variable. One-way ANOVA was then used to disaggregate the scores within each mode by a set of seven contextual factors: school attended, gender, preferred mode of reading, time spent leisure reading, time spent on communication technology, order of testing, and prior instruction and assessment in digital reading. One-way ANOVA was used with factor as independent variable and critical reading as dependent variable.

The students, on average, performed better on the CBT than on the PPT, supporting previous research that found high-achieving students to have a positive mode effect from digital context. In all contexts, school attended and amount of leisure reading were associated with significant differences in scores, supporting literature that has shown positive academic influence being derived from higher levels of parent education and increased leisure reading. Gender was associated with significant differences on both of the standards-based tests, but not on the norm-referenced PSAT, which seemed to speak to the motivational differences between boys and girls. The findings from this study will help school leaders as they seek to instruct and assess all students in the skills of 21st Century literacy.


Eno, L.P. Comparing the reading performance of high-achieving adolescents: Computer-based testing versus paper/pencil. Ph.D. thesis, Seton Hall University. Retrieved October 14, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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