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Improving students’ summative knowledge of introductory chemistry through the forward testing effect: examining the role of retrieval practice quizzing

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Abstract

Building domain knowledge is essential to a student's success in any course. Chemistry, similar to other STEM disciplines, has a strong cumulative element (i.e., topic areas continuously build upon prior coursework). We employed the testing effect, in the form of post-exam retrieval quizzes, as a way to improve students’ understanding of chemistry over an entire semester. Students (n = 146) enrolled in Introduction to Chemistry were presented with retrieval quizzes released one week after each during-term exam (that covered that exam's content). We measured students’ level of quiz participation, during-term exam scores (a control variable), and cumulative final exam scores to determine the effectiveness of implementing a post-exam retrieval quiz system. Most critically, students completing more than 50% of the retrieval quizzes performed significantly better (i.e., more than a half letter grade) on the cumulative final exam than those who were below 50% participation as determined by one-way between-subjects ANOVA and planned follow-up analyses. We found no significant differences between the participating groups on during-term exam scores, suggesting that high achieving students were not more likely than struggling students to participate in the practice testing (and thus benefit from it).

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Article information


Submitted
23 Jun 2020
Accepted
11 Oct 2020
First published
13 Oct 2020

Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2021, Advance Article
Article type
Paper

Improving students’ summative knowledge of introductory chemistry through the forward testing effect: examining the role of retrieval practice quizzing

K. Todd, D. J. Therriault and A. Angerhofer, Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2021, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/D0RP00185F

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