Giving encouragement, prompts and feedback
As much as possible, the teacher should avoid giving specific feedback to students during the test, because this may influence their behaviour in an undesirable fashion. There is a risk of feedback differentially affecting students, so that some are encouraged and others discouraged. CoPS itself provides appropriate and limited feedback (i.e. ‘well done’, ‘good’). Nevertheless, some students will try to elicit additional feedback from the teacher about their performance. This may take the form of verbal and non-verbal behaviours. For example, the student may ask directly if they were correct. Many students will look for the teacher’s facial and bodily reactions to their responses. Some students may even try to evaluate the teacher’s reaction by observing the teacher’s reflection in the monitor screen. For these reasons it is usually preferable that the teacher sits to the side and slightly behind the student to minimise any feedback to the students which may bias the results.
Rather than specific feedback, general encouragement should be given to the student. This encouragement should be referenced to task completion rather than task accuracy and ideally should be delivered equitably to all students. However, it is inevitable that some students will require more encouragement than others, and where this is the case the teacher should be mindful of the possibility of influencing results unduly. Differential encouragement between students is likely to have an influence on the results obtained and therefore should be avoided where possible. Some key phrases and general incentive prompts which may be used to aid the administration of the subtests include: ‘well done’; ‘you were good at that game, now try the next one’; ‘you will like this game’; ‘now concentrate on this’; ‘try hard’; ‘listen very carefully’; ‘have go at this one’; ‘have a try’; ‘just do your best’. Unless it is felt absolutely necessary, prompting during the actual test items should be kept to a minimum. For the most part any necessary prompting should occur between the subtests.
However, there are occasions when prompting during the actual testing may be necessary in order to direct the student’s attention and to ensure the student is on task. These prompts may take the form of cues to attend to the stimuli which is about to be presented. One subtest which is more likely to require cueing for some students is Races.