Issues In Computerized Assessment Equivalence

For computer programs that are designed to replicate more cumbersome and time-consuming paper-and-pencil measures or structured interviews, an important consideration is the equivalence of results between the computer version and its parent instrument. How one concludes that data are equivalent is a matter still open to debate. For example, failure to find statistically significant differences between groups using traditional hypothesis testing strategies (e.g., t-tests) does not mean that data between groups are equivalent. Currently, there is no commonly held standard for assessing degree of equivalence. The equivalency issue is of more than passing interest because some researchers have found that research participants respond differently when interviewed by a computer. For example, some researchers have found that individuals are more likely to report occurrences of embarrassing, sensitive, or illegal behaviors to a computer than to a human interviewer.

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