• Marlit Annalena Lindner
  • Alexander Eitel
  • Benjamin Strobel
  • Olaf Köller
Test items become easier when a representational picture visualizes the text item stem; this is referred to as the multimedia effect in testing. To uncover the processes underlying this effect and to understand how pictures affect students' item-solving behavior, we recorded the eye movements of sixty-two schoolchildren solving multiple-choice (MC) science items either with or without a representational picture. Results show that the time students spent fixating the picture was compensated for by less time spent reading the corresponding text. In text-picture items, students also spent less time fixating incorrect answer options; a behavior that was associated with better test scores in general. Detailed gaze likelihood analyses revealed that the picture received particular attention right after item onset and in the later phase of item solving. Hence, comparable to learning, pictures in tests seemingly boost students' performance because they may serve as mental scaffolds, supporting comprehension and decision making.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLearning and Instruction
Volume47
IssueFebruary 2017
Pages (from-to)91-102
Number of pages12
ISSN0959-4752
DOIs
StatePublished - 02.2017

    Research areas

  • Methodological research and development - Multimedia effect in testing, Multiple external representations, Eye-tracking, Cognition in assessment

ID: 673338