Lewandowski, L., Wood, W., & Lambert, T. (2015). Private room as a test accommodation . Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education , 40 (2), 279–285. https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2014.911243

Journal Article

Lewandowski, L., Wood, W., & Lambert, T. (2015). Private room as a test accommodation. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 40(2), 279–285. https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2014.911243


First published online (4/28/14)


Individual; No disability; Postsecondary; Reading; U.S. context





The researchers examined the effect of students completing reading comprehension testing twice: in a small testing room alone, compared with completing testing alongside a group of about 30 peers in a typical university classroom setting; the testing conditions were in randomized order.


Undergraduate students at a private university (Syracuse University), recruited from a research pool of psychology students, were selected to participate. Data were analyzed from 62 students who reported having no disabilities and who achieved at- or above-average, and who self-identified with English as their primary language or with fluency in English as a non-native language. Participants' college years, ages and ethnicities were also reported.

Dependent Variable

Participants completed the reading comprehension subtest of the Nelson-Denny Reading Test (NDRT, Brown, Fishco, & Hanna, 1993), using two parallel forms, G and H. The forms each comprise 38 factual and inferential multiple-choice items over seven reading passages, using a time limit of 20 minutes. Participants also provided their demographics and their grade point average (GPA).


Participants, all of whom reported having no disabilities, scored significantly better on average in the group administration rather than the individual setting. Further, students' individual scores correlated relatively highly (r=0.72) between conditions, indicating that testing conditions had limited effects on test performance. The researchers concluded that the individual setting did not benefit students without disabilities, suggesting that individual setting might serve as an accommodation for students with disabilities -- but that further investigation (involving students with disabilities) would be needed to substantiate such a claim. Limitations of the study were reported, and future research directions were suggested.