The effect of question order on test scores was examined for a group of 289 students in a natural resources course. Four exams were assembled from the same questions by creating two orders of questions and then creating two page sequences for each order of questions. Comparisons between exams differing only in page order revealed a consistent bias toward lower page scores on the exams with more difficult initial pages. The bias produced differences in mean total scores of 5.9 percentage points for one pair of exams and 3.6 percentage points for the other. This case illustrates the influence of the examination environment on student performance.
exams, exam question, item order