In any laboratory or classroom setting, remembering the content presented is important to a students academic progress. Teachers often set up retrieval practice exercises to test students acumen in retaining and communicating the knowledge they acquire during lessons. A French research team led by Alice Latimier wanted to test whether pre-testing students before learning about the topic or post-testing students after the fact, benefited learning outcomes.
285 participants were evenly distributed into three groups to test the learning effects of pre-testing (the Quiz-Reading condition), post-testing (the Reading-Quiz condition) and re-reading (the Reading-Reading condition) on long term memory by completing an online module.
The results of the analysis demonstrated post-testing had an advantage over pre-testing. The authors suggested the factors that might have contributed to these results included consolidation of knowledge following completion of the quiz at the end of the lesson and also, students who participated in the quiz prior to learning the material received more negative feedback about their results, which detracted away from the students confidence and motivation to learn further.
For a more detailed discussion about the results, please follow the link to read this free and open access article: Does pre-testing promote better retention than post-testing? published by npj Science of Learning.