Trainees who are struggling may not like cumulative testing, but they’ll learn more. That’s the takeaway from a recent study of psychology students.

Researchers split a classroom into two groups. Both groups took a cumulative final and a follow-up test two months after the semester. The difference was during the semester – one group received cumulative quizzes, and the other group’s quizzes only covered material since the previous quiz.

Results: A survey showed that students didn’t like the cumulative exams. But the cumulative group did better on the final exam as well as on the two-month follow-up exam – in particular, learners on the low end of the bell curve.

Source: Lawrence, N. K. (2013). Cumulative Exams in the Introductory Psychology Course. Teaching of Psychology, 40, 15-19.

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