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J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2005 Sep;31(5):1155-9.

The positive and negative consequences of multiple-choice testing.

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Department of Psychology, Washington University in St. Louis, MO 63130-4899, USA.


Multiple-choice tests are commonly used in educational settings but with unknown effects on students' knowledge. The authors examined the consequences of taking a multiple-choice test on a later general knowledge test in which students were warned not to guess. A large positive testing effect was obtained: Prior testing of facts aided final cued-recall performance. However, prior testing also had negative consequences. Prior reading of a greater number of multiple-choice lures decreased the positive testing effect and increased production of multiple-choice lures as incorrect answers on the final test. Multiple-choice testing may inadvertently lead to the creation of false knowledge.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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