The Influence of Self-Testing
The Influence of Self-Testing

The Influence of Self-Testing

Not that self-testing. This has nothing to do with Covid, or lfts, but quite frankly, it has mae finding an image for this post on “self-testing” hardly straightforward.

Two studies.155 college students studying on four courses. A 45 minute lecture showing the benefits of retrieval practice. A web application and a serving recall questions without any choices provided, presented in a random order and a dose of encouragement.

You’re all finished for now! Come back soon to test yourself again!


In study 1, 49% of students used the self-testing web application, plus those who used it anonymously. In study 2, with no anonymous option, 91% of students used the self-testing web application.

Self-tested versus did not self-test

Choosing to self-test improved exam scores approximately 6.33% averaged across both studies. Average exam performance tended to increase as the total number of logins increased

Setting aside study, let’s take a closer look at study 2. GPA significantly predicted exam performance when both the number of logins (2%) and GPA (5%) were included in the same regression model.

Vaughn et al, (2021) summary: Low cost self-testing:

  1. garnered widespread use among college students and
  2. was associated with increased exam performance

Also, that “such a resource would likely improve learning at other academic levels given the general potency of retrieval practice.”

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, self-testing could “potentially improve student learning without sacrificing class time.” That is certainly one of the key benefits of having “decks” or knowledge delivered to pupils via RememberMore.

Hidden gems?

Prior work suggests that students overwhelmingly prefer to be tested with hints versus without hints (Vaughn & Kornell, 2019); thus students may be more willing to self-test if hints are provided. A line of equiry worth exploring and I have that paper next on my list to read.

Vaughn, K. E., Fuegen, K., Goddard, P., & Krull, D. S. (2021). The influence of self-testing websites on college exam performance. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology. Advance online publication.

Vaughn, K. E., & Kornell, N. (2019). How to activate students’ natural desire to test themselves. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, 4(1), 1–16.

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  1. Pingback: How to activate students’ natural desire to test themselves | KristianStill

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