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The Pretesting Effect: How Question-Type and Structure Building Ability Impact Learning

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Recent research shows that answering pre-study test questions can enhance learning (the pretesting effect). However, most of the pretesting literature has only examined the learning benefits of asking closed-ended pretest questions (i.e., fill-in-the-blank). Whereas learning benefits have been found for “old” questions asked at both pretest and posttest (intentional learning), no learning benefits have been found for “new” questions only asked at posttest (incidental learning). The present study was designed to: a) replicate previous work in showing intentional learning with closed-ended pretest questions; b) extend the pretesting effect by seeing if open-ended pretest questions (i.e., short answer) can produce intentional and incidental learning; and c) determine if the pretesting effect may be influenced by individual differences in structure building ability. Participants first either took a pretest consisting of closed- or open-ended questions then studied a prose passage or simply studied the passage (no pretest), after which a closed- or open-ended posttest was administered. They then carried out the Multi-Media Comprehension Battery (Gernsbacher & Varner, 1988) to measure structure building ability. Answering closed-ended pretest questions only enhanced intentional learning, as expected. However, open-ended pretest questions showed transfer, enhancing intentional and incidental learning at posttest. The relationship between structure building ability, the pretesting effect, and question-type (open vs. closed-ended) did not prove to be significant, perhaps due to low statistical power but the data suggest that follow-up work could be worthwhile.
Pretesting Effect
Structure Building
St. Hilaire, Kyle J. (author)
Jennings, Janine M (committee chair)
Stone, Eric R (committee member)
Carpenter, Shana K (committee member)
Pratt, Wayne E (committee member)
2017-08-22T08:35:22Z (accessioned)
2019-08-21T08:30:13Z (available)
2017 (issued)
Psychology (discipline)
2019-08-21 (terms)
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/86339 (uri)
en (iso)
Wake Forest University
The Pretesting Effect: How Question-Type and Structure Building Ability Impact Learning

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