Academic journal article Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology

Effect of Repeated Testing on the Development of Secondary Language Proficiency

Academic journal article Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology

Effect of Repeated Testing on the Development of Secondary Language Proficiency

Article excerpt

Abstract

Karpicke & Roediger (2008) showed that delayed recall is optimized, not with repeated studying sessions, but with repeated testing sessions. The result was very soon re-interpreted by Lasry, Levy and Tremblay (2008), who hypothesized that repeated testing may lead to multiple traces in one's memory, which facilitates recall. The aim of the study was, first, to test whether the results of the Karpicke & Roediger study of repeating similar tests are applicable in real life with dissimilar, though equated, tests of a gradually increasing level of difficulty in Biblical Hebrew language with no connection to the use of the spoken language in everyday life. Second, the aim was also to reveal the profiles of the students' proficiency levels of during the study process. Randomized, matched-pairs (Ν = 7 + 7) of students with the same teacher, the same lessons and the same routines participated in the experiment. The intervention for the experimental group consisted of a set of short, ten-minute tests during each three-hour study session held twice weekly. IRT modeling with linking items served to equate the test scores. ANOVA was used to analyze the gain score between the pre-test and post-test. The experimental group improved statistically significantly more than did the control group. The learning curve was a nonlinear, wide U or J shape after the first elementary period of learning the letters and basic vocabulary. The repeated testing sessions helped the students raise their language proficiency level more than without the repeated testing sessions. Although the groups were small, the effect was high (Cohen's d > 1.0 or d > 1.5 depending on the indicator). The result supports the idea that Karpicke & Roediker's results may also be applicable when the tests measure different topics with the different in each test.

Keywords: language testing, secondary language, Biblical Hebrew, IRT modeling, experiment, matched-pairs

1. Introduction

For more than 40 years since Neisser (1967; see also Eysenck & Keane, 2005), cognitive psychology has attempted to solve the universal computational laws of the human brains. Cognitive psychology works intensively with, for example, the working memory (e.g., Baddeley, 2000; Engle, 2002; Conway et al., 2003; Conway et al., 2005) and the development of language (e.g., Carrol, 1994; Whitney, 1998; Harley, 2001; Jay, 2003). The basic theories of the human mind claim that humans have two different memory modes: semantic memory and episodic (or narrative) memory (see Tulving, 1983; Bruner, 1986; 1990). According to Tulving (1983, 9), semantic memory handles knowledge concerning the world; it is independent of the identity of the person and of personal history, whereas the episodic memory consists of a store of personal events, actions and memories. The content of semantic memory is something the individual knows, whereas the content of episodic memory is something the individual remembers. The units of semantic memory are facts and concepts, whereas the units of the episodic memory are events and episodes. Semantic memory is organized according to concepts, whereas episodic memory is organized according to time.

Cognitive models also assume that retention and retrieval can be explained by co-operation between working memory and long-term memory. Long-term memory can be divided into two components: declarative memory which includes episodic and semantic memory, and procedural memory, which applies to skills. According to Tulving and Schacter (1990), declarative memories are best established by using active recall combined with mnemonic tools and spaced repetition. Thus, a basic doctrine of human learning and memory research is that the repetition of material improves its retention. A rather interesting recent experiment in language learning (Karpicke & Roediger, 2008; also in Roediger & Karpicke, 2006a; 2006b) challenged this tenet.The experiment showed that delayed recall is optimized, not with repeated studying sessions, but with repeated testing sessions. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.