Test expectancies and memory organization




Goldsmith, Susan Marie

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The relationship between memory organization skills and performance was investigated. The purpose was to investigate organization and training differences that might result in different performance under the recall TES effect. The recall test expectancy effect (TES) states that people who expect and receive a recall test perform significantly better than do people who expect a multiple choice test but receive a recall test (Balota & Neely, 1980). In Phase 1, half of the 96 female undergraduate participants were randomly assigned to a categorized word list while the other half were assigned to an unrelated word list (Tulving, 1962) condition. The subjects studied and recalled the same list of words over four study-test trials. The participants were divided into high and low organizer groups depending on their organization scores (Tulving & Sternberg, 1977) from Phase 1. Before Phase 2 the high and low organizer groups were randomly assigned to either a training or no training condition. The subjects in the no training condition went directly to Phase 2. The training period consisted of suggestions for organizing materials for better recall. In Phase 2 all of the subjects received three different word lists for each of three study-test trials. The first two tests were multiple choice (recognition) and the last was a surprise recall test. Thus, the subjects were led to expect a recognition test through practice. The results from all of the condition groups were in support of the traditional recall TES effect. This reflected qualitatively different processes used for recognition versus recall tests (Underwood, 1972). There was a significant relationship between organizational abilities from Phase 1 and performance on the surprise recall test in Phase 2 for the high organizers but not for the low organizers. Significant group differences were found when training was not provided; however, the training period eliminated organizational group differences in Phase 2. The results were interpreted within the theoretical frameworks of Anderson and Bower (1972, 1974) and Gillund and Shiffrin (1984). Future research should be aimed at identifying the practical organization strategies used by test-takers so that recall performance of students, especially low organizers, can be facilitated.



Educational psychology, Memory, Recollection (Psychology), Examinations, Multiple-choice examinations