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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Stephen Sireci

Subject Categories

Accessibility | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research


If a student is not engaged during a test, their test score will not be an accurate representation of what they are capable of. This is a concern because of the possible negative impact on the validity of test score interpretations and decisions being made based on such test scores that are not in the best interest of the student. If this is negatively impacting an entire subgroup of students, such as special education students, differentially, there may be larger-scale impact. To date, limited research has examined the relationship between test-taker engagement and special education status. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between special education status and test-taker engagement, and to look at whether the assignment of a text-to-speech designated feature impacts that relationship.

Results indicated that special education students achieved lower test performance than their peers on both reading and math tests. The text-to-speech results with regards to test performance were less conclusive, with results differing by subject and grade. In terms of test-taker engagement, results indicated special education students were predicted to have lower test-taker engagement than their peers. Students with access to text-to-speech were also predicted to have lower test-taker engagement than students without access to text-to-speech. Possible reasons for these results, implications of the study, and future research are discussed.