THE EVALUATION OF DIFFICULTY OF TASK UNDER SEVERAL DIFFERENT CONDITIONS OF PERFORMANCE OF THE MODIFIED MASHBURN APPARATUS.
IOWA STATE UNIV IOWA CITY
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Six groups, each composed of from 15 to 18 male students, served as subjects. Each of the groups performed on one of six tasks. Ten two-minute practice trials were given on each of two consecutive days. Twelve different measures or indices of relative difficulty were considered, six of them relating to the data on number of matches and six of them relating to error-match ratios. The analyses showed that no single measure was completely adequate to reveal the relative difficulty of the six tasks. A general index of difficulty G.I.D. was computed by obtaining the product of the grand mean of matches and the mean of slopes and dividing the producy the the grand mean of errors. The values of the G.I.D. provided a seemingly reliable basis for rating the six tasks in relative difficulty. It could be shown that the maximum amount of positive transfer was operating for the easiest task and that the maximum amount of negative transfer was operating for the two most difficult tasks. It could also be shown that the number of errors made on individual controls was, in several cases, dependent upon transfer. However, the evidence clearly indicated that the difficulty of psychomotor tasks such as those available on the Modified Mashburn Apparatus cannot be reliably inferred from suppositions concerning transfer. Author