"Flow" as a Testing Ideal

"In our studies, we found that every flow activity... provides a sense of discovery, a creative feeling of transporting the person into a new reality." (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Harper & Row, 1990 p.74)

Csikszentmihalyi describes how human activities often comprise two opposing components, which, in the Diagram are characterized as Challenges and Skills. So long as the level of challenge facing the player of a game is in rough accord with the level of the player's skill, then the player will experience a "sense of discovery", or even a "previously undreamed-of state of consciousness" - that is flow. But as the player's skill increases, the player will grow bored. Or when the challenge of the game increases too far beyond the player's skill, frustration will set in. Both boredom and frustration inhibit the flow experience. The motivation towards enjoyment provokes one to desire to balance challenge with skill, and so to induce flow.

Tailored testing can take advantage of the phenomenon of flow to make the testing experience pleasurable and to improve individual performance. Well-targeted items will make the testing situation less irksome, perhaps even enjoyable! Targeting removes items that are too hard, so inducing anxiety, and those that are too easy, so inducing boredom. Psychometrically, the better the match between the item's difficulty and the test-taker's ability, the greater the likelihood that the situation will produce accurate measures. After a test that successfully matches item difficulties with test-taker ability, test-takers can leave feeling content that their optimum performance levels have been demonstrated, and test constructors can count on accurate measures. A flow experience for all!

Craig Deville

Flow as a testing ideal. Deville C. Rasch Measurement Transactions 1993 7:3 p.308


Flow as a testing ideal. Deville C. … Rasch Measurement Transactions, 1993, 7:3 p.308

Please help with Standard Dataset 4: Andrich Rating Scale Model



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