Students unsure about answers on a multiple-choice test are often told to give it their best guess and keep moving, but they may benefit more from getting a second shot at answering, finds a new study in Educational and Psychological Measurement.
Researchers from the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, N.J., analyzed the scores of more than 17,000 verbal and quantitative-reasoning sections for students in 12 countries on the Graduate Record Examinations revised general test, a computer-based admissions test for postgraduates.
While many adaptive computer-based tests do not allow students to revise their answers, the GRE has that option, and the researchers found 95 percent of students used it to change answers or skip and return to a question later. Of those who changed their answers, 83 percent improved their quantitative-reasoning score, and 68 percent improved their verbal score. The better that students performed overall, the more they benefited from the chance to rethink problems.
A version of this article appeared in the April 15, 2015 edition of Education Week as Assessment