Testing the Testing Effect Using Visuospatial Learning
Hanselman, Stephen Mark
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The testing effect is the idea that testing memory enhances learning and allows for better retention than does repeated study. The testing effect has been widely studied using various methods, including word lists, prose passages, and classroom materials. This study used a visuospatial memory test (which contained 8 unique stimuli, 4 of which were studied by each participant) to examine the testing effect. The study included 52 Kalamazoo College students (21 males, 31 females) who were between the ages of 18 and 22 years. The participants were randomly assigned into 3 different groups: study condition, copy condition, and draw condition. Each participant would complete two testing sessions; the first session involved studying the stimuli, and after studying the stimuli for· 4 min would either study, copy, or draw the stimuli depending on the group condition. The second testing session occurred 7 days later, and each participant would attempt to recall the stimuli seen during the first testing session. After completing the retention test, each participant completed a transfer test (which involved studying different stimuli from the retention test). The evidence gathered suggests that the testing effect can be seen on untested stimuli, but the testing effect was not seen on old stimuli, or on a transfer test. The data indicate that on untested stimuli, the draw condition performs significantly better compared to either the copy or study condition. However, there were no significant differences seen on either old stimuli or the transfer test between the three conditions (study, copy, and draw). The testing effect was not found on all three aspects of our study, but visuospatial memory may provide some different and valuable insights into the testing effect and more research needs to examine the testing effect using visuospatial materials.