When does the test-study-test sequence optimize learning and retention?

  title={When does the test-study-test sequence optimize learning and retention?},
  author={Mark A. McDaniel and Julie M Bugg and Yiyi Liu and Jessye Brick},
  journal={Journal of experimental psychology. Applied},
  volume={21 4},
In educational learning contexts, unlike typical contemporary laboratory paradigms, students have repeated opportunities to study and learn target material, thereby potentially allowing different sequences of testing and studying. We investigated learning and retention after several plausible sequences that were patterned on a classic memory paradigm. After initially reading a research methods text, 2 days later in 1 condition participants repeatedly restudied the material 3 times (SSS), in… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

Transfer of Test-Enhanced Learning: Meta-Analytic Review and Synthesis
The findings of the first comprehensive meta-analytic review into testing yield learning that transfers to different contexts motivate a three-factor framework for transfer of test-enhanced learning and have practical implications for the effective use of practice testing in educational and other training contexts.
A Case Study of Using Test-Enhanced Learning as a Formative Assessment in High School Mathematics
Retrieving information from memory can—under many circumstances—strengthen one’s memory of the retrieved information itself. The strategic use of retrieval to enhance memory and help long-term
In search of transfer following cued recall practice: The case of process-based biology concepts
Appl Cognit Psychol. 2019;1–17. Summary Previous work has demonstrated that cued recall of a term from a fact yields learning that does not transfer, relative to a restudy control, to recall of
Test-enhanced learning for pairs and triplets: When and why does transfer occur?
The majority of the results can be explained by combining the dual-memory theory of the testing effect with an inclusive-OR representation that forms when two or more cues are presented on the training test.
Does Retrieval Practice Enhance Learning and Transfer Relative to Restudy for Term-Definition Facts?
Rec retrieval practice consistently enhanced subsequent term retrieval, enhanced subsequent definition retrieval only after repeated practice, and consistently yielded at best minimal positive transfer in either direction.
Intended and Actual Changes in Study Behaviors in an Introductory and Upper-Level Psychology Course
We examined self-directed studying of students in an introductory (Study 1) and upper-level (Study 2) psychology course. Students reported their study behaviors for Exam 1 and 2, and wrote Exam 2
The effects of testing the relationships among relational concepts
Many concepts are defined by their relationships to one another. However, instructors might teach these concepts individually, neglecting their interconnections. For instance, students learning about


Test-Enhanced Learning
Investigation of the testing effect with educationally relevant materials and whether testing facilitates learning only because tests offer an opportunity to restudy material concluded that testing is a powerful means of improving learning, not just assessing it.
Repeated testing produces superior transfer of learning relative to repeated studying.
  • A. C. Butler
  • Psychology
    Journal of experimental psychology. Learning, memory, and cognition
  • 2010
Repeated testing produced superior retention and transfer on the final test relative to repeated studying, indicating that the mnemonic benefits of test-enhanced learning are not limited to the retention of the specific response tested during initial learning but rather extend to the transfer of knowledge in a variety of contexts.
Test format and corrective feedback modify the effect of testing on long-term retention
We investigated the effects of format of an initial test and whether or not students received corrective feedback on that test on a final test of retention 3 days later. In Experiment 1, subjects
When does testing enhance retention? A distribution-based interpretation of retrieval as a memory modifier.
The results suggest that the differential consequences of initial testing versus restudying reflect, in part, differences in how items distributions are shifted by testing and studying.
The Power of Testing Memory: Basic Research and Implications for Educational Practice
This article selectively review laboratory studies that reveal the power of testing in improving retention and then turns to studies that demonstrate the basic effects in educational settings, including the related concepts of dynamic testing and formative assessment.
Testing improves long-term retention in a simulated classroom setting
The benefits of testing on long-term retention of lecture material were examined in a simulated classroom setting. Participants viewed a series of three lectures on consecutive days and engaged in a
When does feedback facilitate learning of words?
Supplying the correct answer after an incorrect response not only improved performance during the initial learning session--it also increased final retention by 494% and made little difference either immediately or at a delay, regardless of whether the subject was confident in the response.
Test-enhanced learning in the classroom: long-term improvements from quizzing.
Three experiments examined whether quizzing promotes learning and retention of material from a social studies course with sixth grade students from a suburban middle school and found that quizzing of material produced a positive effect on chapter and semester exams.
Metacognitive strategies in student learning: Do students practise retrieval when they study on their own?
It is proposed that many students experience illusions of competence while studying and that these illusions have significant consequences for the strategies students select when they monitor and regulate their own learning.