Original Research

Story-linked item design in tablet-based assessment for preschool children: Insights from testing

Rivca Marais, Louise Stroud, Cheryl Foxcroft, Johan Cronje, Jennifer Jansen
African Journal of Psychological Assessment | Vol 6 | a154 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajopa.v6i0.154 | © 2024 Rivca Marais, Louise Stroud, Cheryl Foxcroft, Johan Cronje, Jennifer Jansen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 December 2023 | Published: 28 May 2024

About the author(s)

Rivca Marais, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, University of Fort Hare, Alice, South Africa
Louise Stroud, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Nelson Mandela University, Gqeberha, South Africa
Cheryl Foxcroft, Higher Education Access and Development Services (HEADS), Nelson Mandela University, Gqeberha, South Africa
Johan Cronje, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Nelson Mandela University, Gqeberha, South Africa
Jennifer Jansen, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Nelson Mandela University, Gqeberha, South Africa

Abstract

This article provides a rationale for exploring the use of tablet-based assessment of children between the ages of 3 years and 5 years. The purpose of the study was to gain insights from young children’s digital test-taking performances and experiences to inform the digitalisation of developmental tests. A mixed method design was followed to collect both qualitative and quantitative data. Animated tablet-based items following a storyline were field-tested on a sample of 60 South African children. Results support the viability of a story-linked, tablet-based gamification approach for assessing children 5 years and under, and emphasise the need for documented strategies and item examples to guide innovative developmental assessment. Digital items showed a degree of responsiveness to various factors, suggesting a potential influence on test taking performance which contributes to the necessity of re-imagining item and test development in the digital age.

Contribution: This study departed from the conventional path of following the predictable and conservative approach of test development taken so far of merely adapting existing measures to a digital format. By empirically assessing the efficacy of newly developed items designed specifically for a digital format, this article addressed the intersection of technology and psychological assessment of the preschool child in a South African context.


Keywords

tablet-based assessment; story-linked; gamification; developmental assessment; digital test development

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 4: Quality education

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