Research shows practice testing helps students learn

Alyssa DeGeorge

“Science” journal published an article Oct. 15 on the results of a study done by two Kent State researchers.

Tests can help teach, according to the research done by Katherine Rawson, a professor in the Department of Psychology, and Mary Pyc, a former Kent State graduate student.

Rawson said they built on previous research that showed that practice testing helps students to learn information.

“There’s very little research that diagnoses why testing improves memory,” Rawson said. “We took a standard method, but we added another component to it.”

Rawson and Pyc tested 118 Engish-speaking participants on Swahili words. They studied the linking words, or “mediators,” participants used to memorize the words, as well as studying the effects of practice testing.

They found that people remember things better when they use mediators to relate the Swahili word to its English meaning and that practice testing helps to develop better mediators.

Rawson said she hopes their research will help students and teachers to realize the power of practice testing and to use it more.

“It’s surprising that it doesn’t appear to make its way into educational practice very much,” she said.

The article can be viewed at

Contact Alyssa DeGeorge at [email protected].