Quizzing in Middle-School Science: Successful Transfer Performance on Classroom Exams

Mark A. Mcdaniel, Ruthann C. Thomas, Pooja K. Agarwal, Kathleen B. Mcdermott, Henry L. Roediger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


We examined whether learning from quizzing arises from memorization of answers or fosters more complete understanding of the quizzed content. In middle-school science classes, we spaced three multiple-choice quizzes on content in a unit. In Experiment 1, the class exams included questions given on quizzes, transfer questions targeting the same content, and content that had not been quizzed (control content). The quizzing procedure was associated with significant learning benefits with large effect sizes and similar effect sizes for both transfer items and identical items. In Experiment 2, quiz questions focused on definitional information or application of the principle. Application questions increased exam performance for definitional-type questions and for different application questions. Definition questions did not confer benefits for application questions. Test-enhanced learning, in addition to other factors in the present quizzing protocol (repeated, spaced presentation of the content), may create deeper understanding that leads to certain types of transfer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-372
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2013


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