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ERIC Number: EJ1120461
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Dec
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1040-726X
Spaced Retrieval Practice Increases College Students' Short- and Long-Term Retention of Mathematics Knowledge
Hopkins, Robin F.; Lyle, Keith B.; Hieb, Jeff L.; Ralston, Patricia A. S.
Educational Psychology Review, v28 n4 p853-873 Dec 2016
A major challenge college students face is retaining the knowledge they acquire in their classes, especially in cumulative disciplines such as engineering, where ultimate success depends on long-term retention of foundational content. Cognitive psychologists have recently recommended various techniques educators might use to increase retention. One technique ("spaced retrieval practice") involves extending opportunities to retrieve course content beyond a customarily short temporal window following initial learning. Confirming the technique's utility requires demonstrating that it increases retention in real classroom settings, with commonly encountered educational content, and that gains endure into subsequent semesters. We manipulated spaced versus massed retrieval practice in a precalculus course for engineering students and followed a subset of students who proceeded into a calculus class the following semester. Spacing versus massing was manipulated within- and between-subjects. Within-subjects, students retained spaced content better than massed content in the precalculus course. Between-subjects, students for whom some retrieval practice was spaced, compared to those for whom all practice was massed, performed better on the final exam in the precalculus class and on exams in the calculus class. These findings suggest that spaced retrieval practice can have a meaningful, long-lasting impact on educational outcomes.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A