Test score improvement has been the major concern
in nearly all the extant studies of special preparation,
or "coaching," for tests. Recently, however, logical
analyses of the possible outcomes and implications of
special test preparation (Anastasi, 1981; Cole, 1982;
Messick, 1981) have suggested that the issue of test
score effects is but one aspect of the controversy surrounding
coaching; the impact of special preparation
on test validity is an equally germane consideration.
Although the assumption is sometimes made that
coaching can serve only to dilute the construct validity
and impair the predictive power of a test, some kinds
of special preparation may, by reducing irrelevant
sources of test difficulty, actually improve both construct
validity and predictive validity. This study examined
the relationships of both internal and external
criteria to Graduate Record Examination (GRE) candidates’
performance on several analytical ability item
types, obtained under several test preparation conditions.
The purpose was to assess the effects of these
various preparations on test reliability and validity.
The preparation conditions were those previously
shown to be effective, in varying degrees, in improving
examinee performance on two of three analytical
item types (Powers & Swinton, 1982, 1984). The data
for this study were those collected by Powers & Swinton
(1982, 1984). The results suggest that GRE analytical
ability scores may relate more strongly to academic
performance after special test preparation than
under more standard conditions and that they may relate
less to measures of other cognitive abilities (verbal
and quantitative scores). No consistent effects
were detected on either the internal consistency or the
convergent validity of the analytical measure.
Powers, Donald E. (1985). Effects of test preparation on the validity of a graduate admissions test. Applied Psychological Measurement, 9, 179-190. doi:10.1177/014662168500900206
Powers, Donald E..
Effects of test preparation on the validity of a graduate admissions test.
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