Kole, James

Committee Member

Paek, Sue Hyeon


Educational Psychology


University of Northern Colorado

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Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created





49 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


The current experimental study attempted to disentangle retrieval of target information from the context surrounding the information in the testing effect, or the finding that taking a practice test leads to better retention on a final test, for the purpose of discovering the mechanisms underlying the phenomenon. Twenty-three participants studied 30 cue-target pairs over three blocks and then either re-studied the pairs or practiced retrieving the target words for another three blocks. All participants completed a final test in which they recalled the target words for all 30 pairs once and performed a lexical decision task in which they had to indicate whether a string of letters was a word or a non-word. The words in the lexical decision task consisted of new words and old words, and response time and accuracy were recorded. None of the results were statistically significant, but the data tended to trend in specific directions. The practice test group had a higher proportion correct on the final test than the re-study group, trending toward a testing effect finding. For the lexical decision task, participants in the practice test group responded to old words slower but more accurately than those in the re-study group. The results support hypotheses that claim participants encode the context around the target words, taking more time to retrieve the context before they retrieve the target words, but the context also aids in successfully retrieving the target words. In general terms, these results impact how students should learn material in educational settings. It is widely recommended that students test themselves to best learn information from class, but adding a context around the information to be learned, such as creating a story around the information, can be even more beneficial.

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