Western Kentucky University

Poster Title

Skillsets Associated with Effective Retrieval Strategy Use

Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Psychology/English

2nd Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Junior

2nd Student Major

Psychology

2nd Student Minor

Clinical & Community Behavioral Health

Institution 22-23

Western Kentucky University

KY House District #

2; 39; 3

KY Senate District #

9; 22; 33

Department

Department of Psychology

Abstract

Retrieval practice is an effective long-term memory strategy. Retrieval practice has several formats, including free recall (i.e., writing all one can recall from a passage) practice quizzing, test question generation, and keyword generation. Despite evidence for the effectiveness of retrieval practice, many students resort to less effective study strategies like rereading (Dunlosky et al., 2013). Respective skillsets developed through students’ college majors may influence their strategy choices (Li & O’Boyle, 2008) and strategy effectiveness (Achter et al., 1999). Due to differences in skill development, students in majors with greater writing requirements may more effectively utilize strategies that draw on writing skills, such as free recall. Similarly, students whose majors require more rote memorization may benefit more from strategies such as practice quizzing. In the present study, majors were categorized as having low, medium, or high levels of writing. College student participants (N = 213) were randomly assigned to free recall, practice quizzing, test question generation, or rereading (control). Participants studied a passage using their assigned strategy, then one week later, took a test over the passage. Major writing level did not significantly influence test performance overall, F(2,208) = 1.491, p = .227, or differently as a function of assigned retrieval strategy, all ps > .05. However, major writing level significantly influenced test performance in the rereading (control) condition, F(2,53) = 3.401, p = .041, η2 = .114. In the rereading condition, low writing majors significantly outperformed medium writing majors, 95% CI [.025, 4.577]. Overall, major writing level did not significantly impact the effectiveness of students’ retrieval strategy use. However, when utilizing rereading as a study strategy, level of writing required by students’ majors impacted test performance. These results may inform students’ study strategy decisions for tasks within particular types of college majors.

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Skillsets Associated with Effective Retrieval Strategy Use

Retrieval practice is an effective long-term memory strategy. Retrieval practice has several formats, including free recall (i.e., writing all one can recall from a passage) practice quizzing, test question generation, and keyword generation. Despite evidence for the effectiveness of retrieval practice, many students resort to less effective study strategies like rereading (Dunlosky et al., 2013). Respective skillsets developed through students’ college majors may influence their strategy choices (Li & O’Boyle, 2008) and strategy effectiveness (Achter et al., 1999). Due to differences in skill development, students in majors with greater writing requirements may more effectively utilize strategies that draw on writing skills, such as free recall. Similarly, students whose majors require more rote memorization may benefit more from strategies such as practice quizzing. In the present study, majors were categorized as having low, medium, or high levels of writing. College student participants (N = 213) were randomly assigned to free recall, practice quizzing, test question generation, or rereading (control). Participants studied a passage using their assigned strategy, then one week later, took a test over the passage. Major writing level did not significantly influence test performance overall, F(2,208) = 1.491, p = .227, or differently as a function of assigned retrieval strategy, all ps > .05. However, major writing level significantly influenced test performance in the rereading (control) condition, F(2,53) = 3.401, p = .041, η2 = .114. In the rereading condition, low writing majors significantly outperformed medium writing majors, 95% CI [.025, 4.577]. Overall, major writing level did not significantly impact the effectiveness of students’ retrieval strategy use. However, when utilizing rereading as a study strategy, level of writing required by students’ majors impacted test performance. These results may inform students’ study strategy decisions for tasks within particular types of college majors.