Dynamic testing with tangible electronics: measuring children's change in strategy use with a series completion task

Br J Educ Psychol. 2011 Dec;81(Pt 4):579-605. doi: 10.1348/2044-8279.002006. Epub 2010 Dec 7.


Aims: This study sought to explore the use of a novel approach that incorporates dynamic testing and tangible electronics in the assessment of children's learning potential and strategy use.

Sample: A total of 77 children with a mean age 8.9 years participated in the study; half of them were dynamically tested using graduate prompt techniques; the others served as a control group.

Method: Children in the experimental group received a series of inputs consisting of a pre-test, two training sessions, and a post-test all involving a number of series completion tasks; the controls received only pre- and post-tests. All test sessions were undertaken individually using a specially designed programme incorporating an electronic console and tangible materials equipped internally with sensors.

Results: As a consequence of training, children significantly outperformed controls on a number of series completion tasks. Significant individual differences were noted in terms of the children's response to assistance. The study's hypothesis that dynamic testing would increase analytical, and reduce trial-and-error, behaviour was supported. While a significant proportion of the children employed strategies that had earlier been identified as optimal, a sizeable minority demonstrated rather more idiosyncratic approaches.

Conclusions: Findings from the study demonstrate the potential value of electronic dynamic testing using graduated prompts. However, a number of further refinements to improve the procedure are suggested.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Achievement
  • Child
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction*
  • Cues
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Knowledge of Results, Psychological*
  • Male
  • Problem Solving*
  • Serial Learning*
  • Software
  • User-Computer Interface