, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 141-152

Direct and Indirect Effects of Completion Versus Accuracy Contingencies on Practice-Exam and Actual-Exam Performance

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Abstract

Students in four sections of an undergraduate educational course (two large and two small sections) took out-of-class practice exams prior to actual exams for each of five course units. Each course unit consisted of five class sessions focusing on a specific developmental theme. Some sections received practice-exam credit based on the number of items completed, whereas other sections received practice-exam credit based on the number of items answered accurately. The contingencies were applied only to the practice exams. A two-way MANOVA included two independent variables (practice-exam contingency and group size) and two dependent variables (practice-exam performance and unit-exam performance). The analysis revealed a main effect for both independent variables across both dependent variables, with students performing better under the accuracy than the completion contingency and better in the small than the large groups. One exception to this overall pattern was a non-significant difference between the large and small groups on the practice exams across both contingencies.