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Towards a better understanding of the legibility bias in performance assessments: The case of gender-based inferences

Greifeneder, Rainer and Zelt, Sarah and Seele, Tim and Bottenberg, Konstantin and Alt, Alexander. (2012) Towards a better understanding of the legibility bias in performance assessments: The case of gender-based inferences. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 82 (3). pp. 361-374.

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Abstract

Background. Handwriting legibility systematically biases evaluations in that highly legible handwriting results in more positive evaluations than less legible handwriting. Because performance assessments in educational contexts are not only based on computerized or multiple choice tests but often include the evaluation of handwritten work samples, understanding the causes of this bias is critical.
Aims. This research was designed to replicate and extend the legibility bias in two tightly controlled experiments and to explore whether gender-based inferences contribute to its occurrence.
Sample(s). A total of 132 students from a German university participated in one pre-test and two independent experiments.
Method. Participants were asked to read and evaluate several handwritten essays varying in content quality. Each essay was presented to some participants in highly legible handwriting and to other participants in less legible handwriting. In addition, the assignment of legibility to participant group was reversed from essay to essay, resulting in a mixed-factor design.
Results. The legibility bias was replicated in both experiments. Results suggest that gender-based inferences do not account for its occurrence. Rather it appears that fluency from legibility exerts a biasing impact on evaluations of content and author abilities.
Conclusions. The legibility bias was shown to be genuine and strong. By refuting a series of alternative explanations, this research contributes to a better understanding of what underlies the legibility bias. The present research may inform those who grade on what to focus and thus help to better allocate cognitive resources when trying to reduce this important source of error.
Faculties and Departments:07 Faculty of Psychology > Departement Psychologie > Forschungsbereich Sozial-, Wirtschafts- und Entscheidungspsychologie > Sozialpsychologie (Greifeneder)
UniBasel Contributors:Greifeneder, Rainer
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:0007-0998
e-ISSN:2044-8279
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article -- -- This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Greifeneder, Rainer and Zelt, Sarah and Seele, Tim and Bottenberg, Konstantin and Alt, Alexander. (2012) Towards a better understanding of the legibility bias in performance assessments: The case of gender-based inferences. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 82 (3). pp. 361-374, which has been published in final form at [see DOI]. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Language:English
Identification Number:
Last Modified:05 Apr 2018 16:20
Deposited On:06 Apr 2017 08:14

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