Quizzes Benefit Freshman and Sophomore Students More Than Junior and Senior Students in Introductory Psychology Classes With Noncumulative Exams

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Abstract

Many studies have examined quiz effectiveness on students’ information retention and exam performance. The present study furthers this area of research by being the first to my knowledge to test quiz effectiveness in introductory psychology classes with noncumulative exams and tests whether observed learning and performance differences relate to whether students are freshman/sophomores or junior/seniors. Data was obtained from six introductory psychology classes; I randomly selected three classes to include quizzes and three to not have quizzes. I measured students’ overall exam performance on three noncumulative exams and measured information retention using a general psychology knowledge test with questions distinct from all quiz and exam materials. Using bootstrapped regression techniques, I identified that freshman/sophomore students performed better on a general psychology knowledge test at the end of the semester in classes with quizzes. No similar benefit emerged for junior/senior students. Furthermore, there were no significant exam grade improvements regardless quiz inclusion in classes. This study is one of the first to my knowledge to consider whether quizzes have a differential effect on freshman/sophomore versus junior/senior students in introductory psychology classes. The results provide a foundation for important future research in this domain, especially considering that these results contrast with those obtained from studies in classes with cumulative exams. This study raises the possibility that quizzes interact with cumulative versus noncumulative exam format to influence student learning and performance.

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