Self-Testing - Applying the Testing Effect

Updated: Jan 16

"Are you studying?" an oft asked question in any home with school-aged children. And the response is often, "yes!" But is effective studying common among school-aged students? Among those that profess to study, even significantly study, many may not be studying effectively. For instance re-reading notes and the textbook, a very common practice, is not as effective as a study method known as self-testing. Roediger, Putnam, and Sumeracki, (2011) include "the testing effect" as Benefit 1 in a chapter they wrote in Psychology of Learning and Motivation entitled Ten Benefits of Testing and Their Applications to Educational Practice.


Do students self-test or self-quiz? Rarely it seems. Students will often say they self-quiz themselves and they know this helps, but students don’t necessarily understand self-quizzing as a learning strategy and that it is more effective than other strategies such as re-reading notes and textbooks (Morehead, Rhodes, & DeLozier, 2016). Yet students find self-testing fun especially when provided with hints (Vaughn & Kornell, 2019).


Students are reluctant to do self-testing, likely because of the effort involved. We at KCTLearning can help with this by providing the ready made practice tests and questions. Our practice tests can act as the self-tests student need. We will look at the importance of retrieval learning in future blog posts, but a steady diet of self-testing requires that the learner 'retrieve' information from their memory. This is the act of acquiring long term memory of important information. Our practice tests encourage retrieval learning.


In addition, our practice tests provide feedback to the learner and additional information and connections. All this presented online in short, consumable, focussed tests that students can access anytime, anywhere on their personal device.


References


Morehead, K., Rhodes, M. G., & DeLozier, S. (2016). Instructor and student knowledge of study strategies. Memory, 24, 257–271.


Roediger, Henry & Putnam, Adam & Sumeracki, Megan. (2011). Ten Benefits of Testing and Their Applications to Educational Practice. Psychology of Learning and Motivation, 55, 1-36.


Vaughn, K. E., & Kornell, N. (2019). How to activate students’ natural desire to test themselves. Cognitive Research: Principles and implications, 4, 1-16.

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