Roediger portrait

Henry Roediger, III

Date: Monday, August 27, 2012
Place: Procrastinator Theater
Time: 4 PM

Title: Retrieval Practice to Enhance Learning and Retention:
From the Laboratory to the Classroom

Sponsoring department: Psychology


Several of Dr. Roediger’s projects extend basic learning and memory findings to education. One interest is in testing. Besides the tradition of standardized testing, tests in education have traditionally been used to assess what students have learned with the assumption that the test itself is relatively neutral. However, research in cognitive psychology shows that tests not only measure knowledge but enhance it.

The testing effect refers to the fact that material that is recalled or recognized is better retained on future tests than material studied for an equivalent amount of time. The broad purpose of our research is to investigate the circumstances that lead to successful learning through testing. This involves exploring how various testing variables (e.g., the type of test given, the spacing of tests, the timing and types of feedback after tests) promote retention, as well as how these variables can be combined to optimally enhance learning for different types of materials (e.g., foreign language vocabulary, scientific and historical expository texts).

Further research in this area focuses on the potential detriments to learning that can result from testing (e.g. exposing test-takers to erroneous information on multiple choice and true/false tests) and how these negative effects can be minimized or corrected.

About the speaker: