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Exploring the Role of Testing in Student Outcomes: Evidence from a Mechanics Course

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Assessments have become increasingly prevalent in education. While many affordances of assessments are offered in the literature, there is mixed evidence on how assessments affect students' learning and performance. Moreover, a testing effect has been identified in lab-based studies where more testing is associated with better performance; however, less is known about the effects of testing on performance in situ. The present study employs data from two Mechanics courses to analyze the effects of testing on performance. We compare two sections—experimental condition with testing (N = 36) and control condition with homework (N = 38)—of the Mechanics course, to examine the relative importance of testing. We find a strong effect for regular testing on student mid-term and final exam performance. The findings have broad implications for the growing testing effect literature.
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