Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of Graduate Psychology


Sara J. Finney


The validity of scores from low-stakes tests may be compromised by examinee motivation. Expectancy-Value theory (EV) has been used to frame the antecedents of examinee motivation in low-stakes testing contexts. According to EV theory, the perceived value of the test and the expectancy to succeed on the test directly affect examinee effort, which then affects test performance. Cross-sectional research studies in low-stakes testing contexts offer some support of EV theory. Control-Value theory (CV) serves as another theory to understand motivation toward a task. CV theory encompasses the constructs of expectancy and value from EV theory, but incorporates test emotions as mediators of the effects of expectancy and value on motivation. Unfortunately, the role of emotions when studying examinee motivation in low-stakes contexts has been largely ignored. The purpose of the current study was to examine the direct and indirect effects of perceived value and test emotions on examinee effort during a low-stakes test. To address the purpose of the study and the limitations of previous cross-sectional designs, several panel models were estimated using longitudinal data. Specifically, value, test emotions, and motivation were measured three times throughout the test. Two models based on CV theory fit the data well. In these models, when controlling for prior test emotions and prior test performance, the effects of perceived value on subsequent examinee effort were not statistically significant at any point during the test, whereas the effects of several test emotions on subsequent examinee effort were significant. The results suggest that practitioners may need to shift their attention to other constructs that may impact examinee effort and test performance. Empirical studies on test emotions are lacking, thus several areas of research avenues are proposed.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.