The project ReTiCo (Response Time Control) aims at controlling and modelling of response times in competence tests.

In large scale assessments test takers usually answer the questions in a not further divided amount of time. Therefore, test takers can differ considerably concerning the amount of time spent per task, respectively, particular time management. These individual differences in test taking behaviour can lead to heterogeneous performance, i.e. the choice of work strategy can influence the measurement and impact comparability. Previous findings for this problem that is connected to the so-called ‘speed-accuracy-tradeoff’, derive from speed test studies (measurement of performance speed). In this project, research questions and findings shall be transferred to power-tests (measurement of power level, e.g., competence or ability tests).


In detail, the following aims shall be pursued:

1. Reduction of individual differences

With the implementation of temporal feedback and limitation of response time on task level, construct irrelevant differences in working strategies shall be reduced.

2. Identification of causes

With the help of additional explanatory variables the causes of individual differences in editing shall be identified. 

3. Modell testing

For estimation of person parameters models shall be tested, that consider the influence of the time spent on the solvation success.

4. Impact on item parameters

The consequences of different temporal conditions on the item parameters difficulty and discrimination as well as the covariate structure of measurements shall be investigated.


ReTiCo combines experimental and diagnostic investigation approaches. Already tested reading competence tests will be implemented in different temporal feedback conditions to investigate the individual influence on the performance of the students as well as the influence on the item parameters. Data collection takes place in vocational schools in spring 2014. A sample of at least 800 students is pursued. The students are working on the test exclusively computer based. Beside different reading conditions explanatory variables (e.g. test motivation, stress level, grade in German classes) will be registered to shed light on possible connections between person variable and ability as well as work strategy.

Funding: Centre for International Student Assessment (ZIB)

Cooperation: NEPS

Duration: 08/2012 – 07/2015

Project management: Frank Goldhammer

Contact: Frank Goldhammer, Miriam Hacker



- Goldhammer, F.; Kroehne, U. (2014). Controlling Individuals' Time Spent on Task in Speeded Performance Measures: Experimental Time Limits, Posterior Time Limits, and Response Time Modeling. Applied Psychological Measurement. Published online before print January 16, 2014. doi: 10.1177/0146621613517164

- Goldhammer, F.; Klein Entink, R.H. (2011). Speed of reasoning and its relation to reasoning ability. Intelligence, 39, 108-119.