Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Committee Director

Terry L. Dickinson

Committee Member

Robert M. McIntyre

Committee Member

Glynn D. Coates

Committee Member

Nancy T. Tippins


Test performance in general has been found to decline with increasing age. However, this decline has not been accompanied consistently by lower job performance. Subsequently, factors external to the test are being more closely examined for their effects on test performance. Two such factors, a lack of general test-taking skills and a reduced level of basic cognitive skills, are thought to contribute most to the test performance of older adults. These factors occur because of the lower level of education and greater length of time since formal schooling for older adults. Accordingly, organizations have been offering test-preparation training to all employees to enhance such skills. The present research was designed to examine components of one such training program.

Three hundred thirty-six employees from a large telecommunications company received training on general test-taking skills, cognitive skills, both skills, or no training. Before and after training, participants completed a standardized set of tests as well as questionnaires measuring their attitudinal dispositions toward test taking. A 2 (Pre-Test) by 2 (Training) analysis of variance design was utilized to examine the effects of testing at time 1 on test scores at time 2. A 4 (Experimental Training Groups) by 2 (Age Categories) by 2 (Time) repeated measures analysis of variance design was then employed to evaluate the effects of different types of training on fluid and crystal ability test score composites. Next, another variable (Prepost) was included in the design to examine test-taking dispositions before and after the tests.

Results showed pre-test and training effects; each positively influenced fluid test score composites at time 2. Findings also indicated that basic cognitive skills training positively affected crystal test score composites at time 2. Differences in fluid test scores between participants under age 40 and age 40 and over were found across time. There were no age differences for the crystal test scores. Finally, exposure to the tests and training influenced test dispositions.

This research investigation offers support for the effectiveness of training programs designed to assist adults in their test-preparation. In addition, it provides insight into test-taker dispositions, and their relationship to test scores. Possible explanations for differences in test scores and dispositions due to training and age are provided.


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