Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2015

Publication Title

Research & Practice in Assessmen




30-38 pp.


Increased demands for accountability have placed an emphasis on assessment of student learning outcomes. At the post-secondary level, many of the assessments are considered low-stakes, as student performance is linked to few, if any, individual consequences. Given the prevalence of low-stakes assessment of student learning, research that investigates the relationship between student motivation, effort, and performance on low-stakes tests is warranted as these tests are increasingly being used to make judgments about the quality of student learning. This quasi-experimental study was conducted at a public mid-sized university with 87 undergraduate students enrolled in four 100-level general education courses. The researchers examined the effects of motivational prompts on student motivation, effort, and performance on a low-stakes test. Results indicated that motivational condition had a significant effect on students' performance as measured by total mean scores on a low-stakes standardized test. Students in the personal motivational condition outperformed students in the other conditions. However, motivational prompts were not found to affect students' critical thinking subscores or self-reported effort and importance scores.

Original Publication Citation

Hawthorne, K. A., Bol, L., Pribesh, S., & Suh, Y. (2015). Effects of motivational prompts on motivation, effort, and performance on a low-stakes standardized test. Research & Practice in Assessment, 10, 30-38.