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Test-taking may improve learning in people of all ages
Date:3/7/2013

WASHINGTON Older adults who haven't been in school for a while are as capable of learning from tests as younger adults and college students, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

No matter their age or if they work or go to college full time, people appear to learn more when tested on material, rather than simply rereading or restudying information, according to research published online in the APA journal Psychology and Aging.

"The use of testing as a way to learn new information has been thoroughly examined in young students. This research builds on that and supports the notion that educators, or even employers, can use tests to increase learning in adults of all ages," said the study's lead author, Ashley Meyer, PhD, a cognitive psychologist with the Houston Veterans Affairs Health Services Research and Development Center of Excellence.

In this experiment, adults of various ages improved their retention of new information just as much as college students if they were tested on the material and received feedback on their scores, rather than just restudying the materials, according to the article. The improvement was significant and comparable to the college students' improvement, even though the college students performed better on the initial test.

"Both groups benefited from the initial testing more than the additional studying. Taking the test and then being told how many answers they got wrong or correct was enough for these adults to improve their memory of the material as shown in a final, more difficult, test," said Meyer, who conducted the research with co-author Jessica Logan, PhD, at Rice University.

Participants who took the final test on the same day as the study period did significantly better than participants who took it two days later, according to the article. However, older adults whose memories presumably are not as good as that of young coll
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Contact: Audrey Hamilton
ahamilton@apa.org
202-336-5706
American Psychological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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