Educational Psychology Review

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 353–375 | Cite as

A Classroom Study on the Relationship Between Student Achievement and Retrieval-Enhanced Learning

  • Shana K. Carpenter
  • Terry J. S. Lund
  • Clark R. Coffman
  • Patrick I. Armstrong
  • Monica H. Lamm
  • Robert D. Reason
Essay

Abstract

Retrieval practice has been shown to produce powerful learning gains in laboratory experiments but has seldom been explored in classrooms as a means of enhancing students’ learning of their course-relevant material. Furthermore, research is lacking concerning the role of individual differences in learning from retrieval. The current study explored the effects of retrieval in a large undergraduate introductory biology course as a function of individual differences in student achievement. Students completed in-class exercises that required them to retrieve course information (e.g., recalling definitions for terms and labeling diagrams) followed by feedback or to simply copy the information without retrieving it. A later quiz over the information showed that high-performing students benefited more from retrieving than copying, whereas middle- and low-performing students benefited more from copying than retrieving. When asked to predict their quiz scores following the in-class exercises, high-performers demonstrated better overall metacognitive calibration compared to middle- or low-performers. These results highlight the importance of individual differences in learning from retrieval and encourage future research using course-relevant material to consider the role of student achievement in classroom-based interventions.

Keywords

Retrieval-enhanced learning Student achievement Individual differences Metacognition 

Notes

Author Note

Shana K. Carpenter, Terry J. S. Lund, and Patrick I. Armstrong, Department of Psychology, Iowa State University; Clark R. Coffman, Department of Genetics, Development, and Cell Biology, Iowa State University; Monica H. Lamm, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Iowa State University; Robert D. Reason, School of Education, Iowa State University.

Portions of this study were presented at the annual meeting of the Society for the Advancement of Biology Education Research (Minneapolis, MN, July 2014). We thank Tyler McGrath for creating the images for the in-class exercises, and Chad Fernandez, Shuhebur Rahman, Andrew Woods, and Kristi Harris for their assistance with scoring the quizzes and in-class exercises.

References

  1. Agarwal, P. K., Karpicke, J. D., Kang, S. H. K., Roediger, H. L. III, & McDermott, K. B. (2008). Examining the testing effect with open- and closed-book tests. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 22, 861–876.Google Scholar
  2. Alexander, P. A., Kulikowich, J. M., & Schulze, S. K. (1994). How subject-matter knowledge affects recall and interest. American Educational Research Journal, 31, 313–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson, L. W., Krathwohl, D. R., Airasian, P. W., Cruikshank, K. A., Mayer, R. E., Pintrich, P. R., Raths, J., & Wittrock, M. C. (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: a revision of bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. New York: Longman.Google Scholar
  4. Benjamin, A. S., Bjork, R. A., & Schwartz, B. L. (1998). The mismeasure of memory: when retrieval fluency is misleading as a metacognitive index. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 127, 55–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bjork, E. L., Little, J. L., & Storm, B. C. (2014). Multiple-choice testing as a desirable difficulty in the classroom. Journal of Applied Research in Memory & Cognition, 3, 1–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bol, L., Hacker, D. J., O’Shea, P., & Allen, D. (2005). The influence of overt practice, achievement level, and explanatory style on calibration accuracy and performance. The Journal of Experimental Education, 73, 269–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Boscolo, P., & Mason, L. (2003). Topic knowledge, text coherence, and interest: how they interact in learning from instructional texts. Journal of Experimental Education, 71, 126–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brewer, G. A., & Unsworth, N. (2012). Individual differences in the effects of retrieval from long-term memory. Journal of Memory & Language, 66, 407–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Butler, A. C. (2010). Repeated testing produces superior transfer of learning relative to repeated studying. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 36, 1118–1133.Google Scholar
  10. Butler, A. C., & Roediger, H. L., III. (2007). Testing improves long-term retention in a simulated classroom setting. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 19, 514–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Carpenter, S. K. (2009). Cue strength as a moderator of the testing effect: the benefits of elaborative retrieval. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 35, 1563–1569.Google Scholar
  12. Carpenter, S. K. (2011). Semantic information activated during retrieval contributes to later retention: support for the mediator effectiveness hypothesis of the testing effect. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 37, 1547–1552.Google Scholar
  13. Carpenter, S. K. (2012). Testing enhances the transfer of learning. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 21, 279–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Carpenter, S. K., & Kelly, J. W. (2012). Tests enhance retention and transfer of spatial learning. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 19, 443–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Carpenter, S. K., & Olson, K. M. (2012). Are pictures good for learning new vocabulary in a foreign language? Only if you think they are not. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 38, 92–101.Google Scholar
  16. Carpenter, S. K., Pashler, H., Wixted, J. T., & Vul, E. (2008). The effects of tests on learning and forgetting. Memory & Cognition, 36, 438–448.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Carpenter, S. K., Pashler, H., & Cepeda, N. J. (2009). Using tests to enhance 8th grade students’ retention of U. S. history facts. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 23, 760–771.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Carpenter, S. K., Wilford, M., Kornell, N., & Mullaney, K. M. (2013). Appearances can be deceiving: instructor fluency increases perceptions of learning without increasing actual learning. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 20, 1350–1356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Castel, A. D., McCabe, D. P., & Roediger, H. L., III. (2007). Illusions of competence and overestimation of associative memory for identical items: evidence from judgments of learning. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 14, 107–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Chan, J. C. K., McDermott, K. B., & Roediger, H. L., III. (2006). Retrieval-induced facilitation: initially non-tested material can benefit from prior testing of related material. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 135, 553–571.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Clark, D.A., & Svinicki, M. (2014). The effect of retrieval on post-task enjoyment of studying. Educational Psychology Review, 27, 51-67.Google Scholar
  22. Cooper, G., Tindall-Ford, S., Chandler, P., & Sweller, J. (2001). Learning by imagining. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 7, 68–82.Google Scholar
  23. Coppens, L. C., Verkoeijen, P. P. J. L., & Rikers, R. M. J. P. (2011). Learning Adinkra symbols: the effect of testing. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 3, 351–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Diemand-Yauman, C., Oppenheimer, D. M., & Vaughan, E. B. (2011). Fortune favors the bold (and the italicized): effects of disfluency on educational outcomes. Cognition, 118, 111–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Dunlosky, J., & Lipko, A. R. (2009). Metacomprehension: a brief history and how to improve its accuracy. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16, 228–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Dunlosky, J., Rawson, K. A., Marsh, E. J., Nathan, M. J., & Willingham, D. T. (2013). Improving students’ learning with effective learning techniques: promising directions from cognitive and educational psychology. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 14, 4–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Finn, B., & Metcalfe, J. (2007). The role of memory for past test in the underconfidence with practice effect. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 33, 238–244.Google Scholar
  28. Finn, B., & Roediger, H. L., III. (2011). Enhancing retention through reconsolidation: negative emotional arousal following retrieval enhances later recall. Psychological Science, 22, 781–786.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hacker, D. J., Bol, L., Horgan, D. D., & Rakow, E. A. (2000). Test prediction and performance in a classroom context. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92, 160–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Halamish, V., & Bjork, R. A. (2011). When does testing enhance retention? A distribution-based interpretation of retrieval as a memory modifier. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 37, 801–812.Google Scholar
  31. Hartwig, M. K., & Dunlosky, J. (2012). Study strategies of college students: are self-testing and scheduling related to achievement? Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 19, 126–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hinze, S. R., & Rapp, D. N. (2014). Retrieval (sometimes) enhances learning: performance pressure reduces the benefits of retrieval practice. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 28, 597–606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hinze, S. R., & Wiley, J. (2011). Testing the limits of testing effects using completion tests. Memory, 19, 290–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hinze, S. R., Wiley, J., & Pellegrino, J. W. (2013). The importance of constructive comprehension processes in learning from tests. Journal of Memory & Language, 69, 151–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Jensen, J. L., McDaniel, M. A., Woodard, S. M., & Kummer, T. A. (2014). Teaching to the test… or testing to teach? Exams requiring higher order thinking skills encourage greater conceptual understanding. Educational Psychology Review, 26, 307–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kalyuga, S. (2007). Expertise reversal effect and its implications for learner-tailored instruction. Educational Psychology Review, 19, 509–539.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kalyuga, S., Ayres, P., Chandler, P., & Sweller, J. (2003). The expertise reversal effect. Educational Psychologist, 38, 23–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kalyuga, S., Law, Y. K., & Lee, C. H. (2013). Expertise reversal effect in reading Chinese texts with added causal words. Instructional Science, 41, 481–497.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kang, S. H. K., & Pashler, H. (2014). Is the benefit of retrieval practice modulated by motivation? Journal of Applied Research in Memory & Cognition, 3, 7–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Kang, S. H. K., McDermott, K. B., & Roediger, H. L., III. (2007). Test format and corrective feedback modify the effect of testing on long-term retention. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 19, 528–558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Karpicke, J. D., & Roediger, H. L., III. (2008). The critical importance of retrieval for learning. Science, 319, 966–968.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Karpicke, J. D., & Zaromb, F. M. (2010). Retrieval mode distinguishes the testing effect from the generation effect. Journal of Memory & Language, 62, 227–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Karpicke, J.D., Blunt, J.R., Smith, M.A., & Karpicke, S.S. (2014). Retrieval-based learning: the need for guided retrieval in elementary-school children. Journal of Applied Research in Memory & Cognition, 3, 198-206.Google Scholar
  44. Kornell, N., & Bjork, R. A. (2009). A stability bias in human memory: overestimating remembering and underestimating learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 138, 449–468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Kornell, N., Hays, M. J., & Bjork, R. A. (2009). Unsuccessful retrieval attempts enhance subsequent learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 35, 989–998.Google Scholar
  46. Kornell, N., Bjork, R. A., & Garcia, M. A. (2011). Why tests appear to prevent forgetting: a distribution-based bifurcation model. Journal of Memory & Language, 65, 85–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Kubik, V., Söderlund, H., Nilsson, L-G., & Jönsson, F.U. (2014). Individual and combined effects of enactment and testing on memory for action phrases. Experimental Psychology, 61, 347-355.Google Scholar
  48. Kuo, T.-M., & Hirshman, E. (1997). The role of distinctive perceptual information in memory: studies of the testing effect. Journal of Memory & Language, 36, 188–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Lee, C. H., & Kalyuga, S. (2014). Expertise reversal effect and its instructional implications. In V. A. Benassi, C. E. Overson, & C. M. Hakala (Eds.), Applying the science of learning in education: Infusing psychological science into the curriculum (pp. 31–44). Retrieved from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology website:http://teachpsych.org/ebooks/asle2014/index.php.
  50. Lee, H., Plass, J. L., & Homer, B. D. (2006). Optimizing cognitive load for learning from computer-based science simulations. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98, 902–913.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Leppink, J., Broers, N. J., Imbos, T., van der Vleuten, C. P. M., & Berger, M. P. F. (2012). Self-explanation in the domain of statistics: an expertise reversal effect. Higher Education, 63, 771–785.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Little, J. L., & McDaniel, M. A. (2014). Metamemory monitoring and control following retrieval practice for text. Memory & Cognition, 43, 85–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. McDaniel, M. A., Anderson, J. L., Derbish, M. H., & Morrisette, N. (2007). Testing the testing effect in the classroom. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 19, 494–513.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. McDaniel, M. A., Wildman, K. M., & Anderson, J. L. (2012). Using quizzes to enhance summative assessment performance in a web-based class: an experimental study. Journal of Applied Research in Memory & Cognition, 1, 18–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. McDaniel, M. A., Thomas, R. C., Agarwal, P. K., McDermott, K. B., & Roediger, H. L., III. (2013). Quizzing in middle-school science: successful transfer performance on classroom exams. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 27, 360–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. McNamara, D. S. (2001). Reading both high-coherence and low-coherence texts: effects of text sequence and prior knowledge. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 55, 51–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. McNamara, D. S., Kintsch, E., Songer, N. B., & Kintsch, W. (1996). Are good texts always better? Interactions of text coherence, background knowledge, and levels of understanding in learning from text. Cognition & Instruction, 14, 1–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Miller, T. M., & Geraci, L. (2011). Unskilled but aware: reinterpreting overconfidence in low-performing students. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 37, 502–506.Google Scholar
  59. Pashler, H., Cepeda, N. J., Wixted, J. T., & Rohrer, D. (2005). When does feedback facilitate learning of words ? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 31, 3–8.Google Scholar
  60. Pashler, H., Bain, P., Bottge, B., Graesser, A., Koedinger, K., McDaniel, M. A., & Metcalfe, J. (2007). Organizing instruction and study to improve student learning (NCER 2007–2004). Washington, DC: U. S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Research, Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/pdf/practiceguides/20072004.pdf.
  61. Pellegrino, J. W. (2012). From cognitive principles to instructional practices: the devil is often in the details. Journal of Applied Research in Memory & Cognition, 1, 260–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Peterson, D. J., & Mulligan, N. W. (2013). The negative testing effect and multifactor account. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 39, 1287–1293.Google Scholar
  63. Pyc, M. A., & Rawson, K. A. (2010). Why testing improves memory: mediator effectiveness hypothesis. Science, 330, 335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Rawson, K. A., & Dunlosky, J. (2011). Optimizing schedules of retrieval practice for durable and efficient learning: how much is enough? Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 140, 283–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Rhodes, M. G., & Castel, A. D. (2008). Memory predictions are influenced by perceptual information: evidence for metacognitive illusions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 137, 615–625.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Roediger, H. L. III, & Butler, A. C. (2011). The critical role of retrieval practice in long-term retention. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 15, 20–27.Google Scholar
  67. Roediger, H. L. III., & Karpicke, J. D. (2006). Test-enhanced learning: taking memory tests improves long-term retention. Psychological Science, 17, 249–255.Google Scholar
  68. Roediger, H. L., III, & Pyc, M. A. (2012). Inexpensive techniques to improve education: applying cognitive psychology to enhance educational practice. Journal of Applied Research in Memory & Cognition, 1, 242–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Roediger, H. L. III, Agarwal, P. K., McDaniel, M. A., & McDermott, K. B. (2011). Test-enhanced learning in the classroom: long-term improvements from quizzing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 17, 382–395.Google Scholar
  70. Schraw, G., & Dennison, R. S. (1994). Assessing metacognitive awareness. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 19, 460–475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Serra, M. J., & Dunlosky, J. (2010). Metacomprehension judgments reflect the belief that diagrams improve learning from text. Memory, 18, 689–711.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Szpunar, K. K., Jing, H. G., & Schacter, D. L. (2014). Overcoming overconfidence in learning from video-recorded lectures: implications of interpolated testing for online education. Journal of Applied Research in Memory & Cognition, 3, 161-164.Google Scholar
  73. Toppino, T. C., & Cohen, M. S. (2009). The testing effect and the retention interval: questions and answers. Experimental Psychology, 56, 252–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Tse, C.-S., & Pu, X. (2012). The effectiveness of test-enhanced learning depends on trait test anxiety and working-memory capacity. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 18, 253–264.Google Scholar
  75. Tullis, J. G., Finley, J. R., & Benjamin, A. S. (2013). Metacognition of the testing effect: guiding learners to predict the benefits of retrieval. Memory & Cognition, 41, 429–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Vaughn, K. E., & Rawson, K. A. (2011). Diagnosing criterion level effects on memory: what aspects of memory are enhanced by repeated retrieval? Psychological Science, 22, 1127–1131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Vaughn, K. E., Rawson, K. A., & Pyc, M. A. (2013). Repeated retrieval practice and item difficulty: does criterion learning eliminate item difficulty effects? Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 20, 1239–1245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Wooldridge, C. L., Bugg, J. M., McDaniel, M. A., & Liu, Y. (2014). The testing effect with authentic educational materials: a cautionary note. Journal of Applied Research in Memory & Cognition, 3, 13–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Zaromb, F. M., & Roediger, H. L., III. (2010). The testing effect in free recall is associated with enhanced organizational processes. Memory & Cognition, 38, 995–1008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shana K. Carpenter
    • 1
  • Terry J. S. Lund
    • 1
  • Clark R. Coffman
    • 1
  • Patrick I. Armstrong
    • 1
  • Monica H. Lamm
    • 1
  • Robert D. Reason
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyIowa State UniversityAmesUSA

Personalised recommendations