Techniques to Increase the Usefulness of Web Based Assessment

One major asset available in Web-based assessment methods is the information gained from different types of nonresponse behavior (Bosnjak, 2001), particularly dropout (attrition). Dropout is always present in Web-based assessment methods because subjectively the participant is in a much more voluntary setting than in a laboratory situation. Although one may consider dropout a serious problem in any type of study, dropout can also be put to use and turned into a detection device for motivational confounding, i.e. the confounding of the motivation to continue participating in the study with any other difference caused by differing influences between conditions (Reips, 1997, 2000, 2002b; Reips, Morger, & Meier, 2001). If desired, dropout can also be reduced by implementing a number of measures, like promising immediate feedback, giving financial incentives, and by personalization (Frick et al., 2001). Or, the warm-up technique for dropout control can be implemented (Reips, 2000, 2002b): the actual study begins several pages deep into the material, so a high compliance is already established.

Only a selection of the available techniques can be explained in this chapter, but the reader is referred to Birnbaum (2001), Birnbaum and Reips (2005), and Reips (2000, 2002b, 2002c, 2002d) for more detailed explanations of these and other techniques of Web-based assessment.

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