Humor in Educational Testing: A Review and Discussion

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Studies including humor in testing were reviewed using performance and self-report criteria. With effects of humor judged using performance (test score) criteria, no supporting main effects were found. However, researchers found interactions with anxiety, gender, stress instructions, and humor appreciation. Humor affected students' perceptions of testing; with self-report criteria, there were supportive main effects and an interaction with humor type and field independence. Findings are discussed in terms of the construct of humor, humor type, format, and criteria measures. Additional topics for discussion include interactions, receiving a humor treatment, problematical subgroups, and implications for research and practice. Would testing be more humane with humor included? Test developers might consider including humor in tests, especially under certain conditions.

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Applied Measurement in Education, v. 10, issue 3, p. 269-297