Using Nudges for More Effective Exam Programs
Parshall C, Julian E, Parikh S, Horber DT. Using Nudges for More Effective Exam Programs. Paper presented at the 2019 Innovations in Testing Conference, Orlando FL, March 2019.
Nudges are small, deliberate tactics we can use to help our test-takers (and our SMEs) do the things they want to do. While our testing programs have many points that can derail candidates, through small and subtle changes we can help them persist through the life cycle of application, testing (and retesting), and ongoing certification. For example, framing tactics in messaging can effectively decrease the number of test-takers who fail to show. Nudges can also be used with SMEs to increase JTA survey response rates and committee volunteer numbers. Join us for a panel discussion with researchers and practitioners using nudges in testing.
Behavioral nudges have been used forever to help people remember to do things, or follow through on things they started. New research has identified the strategies that are most effective, as well as the research tools for increasing their success in a specific environment. As a result, the use of nudges is moving from ad hoc to intentional and systematic. Educators, corporate offices, and governmental institutions are formally incorporating nudges into their interactions with the public and their staff, and testing programs can use them to support examinees, subject-matter experts, staff, and employers in doing what they already want to do.
The underlying goal is to influence, or “nudge,” people in positive ways that are in their own best interest, as defined by themselves. This presentation will discuss ways that a variety of testing programs are already using nudges and will share the evidence of their effectiveness.
This session will have a panel that includes researchers and practitioners effectively using nudge tactics in the field of testing. They will share real-world successful (and unsuccessful) examples of nudges in testing.
Presentations will include:
- an overview of nudges: what they are, the evidence for their effectiveness, and a simple research plan for implementing nudges effectively.
- a discussion of common areas in testing programs where people have agreed to do things, but often need help carrying them out: e.g., examinees would benefit from nudges to meet registration deadlines, study, stay honest, show up for the test on time with appropriate accouterments; SME’s would benefit from nudges to volunteer, write items, review items.
- a presentation on before-and-after data on how timely phone calls decreased candidates “no-show” for a medical licensure performance exam; additional nudge interventions from the program’s in-development continuous assessment will be included.
- a case study of nudging applied in a high school equivalency program, with specific behavioral techniques and overall results.
Ariely, D. (2008). Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions. New York: HarperCollins.
Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, Fast and Slow. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.
Thaler, R.H., & Sunstein, C.R. (2008). Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.