Effects of Screen Size, Screen Resolution, and Display Rate on Computer-Based Test Performance

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



testing conditions barriers, bar passage


Computer-based tests administered in established commercial testing centers typically have used monitors of uniform size running at a set resolution. Web-based delivery of tests promises to expand access, but at the price of less standardization in equipment. This study evaluated the effects of variations in screen size, resolution, and presentation delay on verbal and mathematics scores in a sample of 357 collegebound high school juniors. There were 3 screen display conditions crossed with 2 presentation rate conditions: a 17-in. monitor set to a resolution of 1024 × 768, a 17-in. monitor set to a resolution of 640 × 480, and a simulated 15-in. monitor set to a resolution of 640 × 480 with items presented either with no delay or with a 5-sec delay between questions (to emulate a slow Internet connection). No significant effects on math scores were found. Verbal scores were higher, by about a quarter of a standard deviation, with the larger high-resolution display.