Investigating the influence of question type and cognitive process on academic performance in VCE Physical Education: a secondary data analysis

Rachael J. Whittle, Amanda C. Benson, Shahid Ullah, Amanda Telford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


External written examinations are commonly used for determining student academic achievement. The influence of question type and cognitive process on examination performance in senior-secondary physical education is unclear. A secondary data analysis of Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) Physical Education examination data (2011; n = 9,323, 2012; n = 8,781) was conducted. Question type (multiple choice and short answer) and overall examination performance were compared and the predictive value of question type, cognitive process (based on Bloom’s revised taxonomy), and overall examination scores determined. In 2011 and 2012, students performed significantly better on multiple-choice questions; however, short-answer performance better predicted overall exam performance. A significant difference between marks achieved by cognitive level and grade (Ungraded [UG]–A+) was found. Low-achieving students (UG–D) were performing well below the examination mean across all questions. Developing higher order thinking skills for all students may lead to improved overall examination performance in VCE Physical Education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504-522
Number of pages19
JournalEducational Research and Evaluation
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 2018


  • Bloom’s taxonomy
  • Senior-secondary physical education
  • examinations
  • high-stakes assessment
  • higher order thinking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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