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ERIC Number: EJ1176614
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Apr
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
The Efficacy of Learners' Testing Choices
Tullis, Jonathan G.; Fiechter, Joshua L.; Benjamin, Aaron S.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v44 n4 p540-552 Apr 2018
Practice tests provide large mnemonic benefits over restudying, but learners judge practice tests as less effective than restudying. Consequently, learners infrequently utilize testing when controlling their study and often choose to be tested only on well-learned items. In 5 experiments, we examined whether learners' choices about testing and restudying are effective for improving subsequent memory performance. Learners studied a list of word pairs and chose which items to restudy and which to test. Some of learners' choices were honored (by assigning those items to the chosen activity) and some of learners' choices were dishonored (by assigning those items to the opposite study activity). Surprisingly, and in contrast with all work to date on the metacognitive monitoring of testing effects, honoring learners' testing choices consistently resulted in better memory performance than dishonoring choices. This effect occurred principally because learners often chose to restudy difficult items, and those items did not benefit from testing. The effectiveness of learners' choices about testing casts the metacognition of testing in a new light: learners may not appreciate the benefits of testing, but they do have an understanding of circumstances in which the benefits of testing are minimal.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois (Urbana); Illinois (Champaign); Indiana
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A