The Effects of an Online Program and Test Format on Student Performance


  • Stephen Lippi George Mason University Psychology Department Cognitive & Behavioral Neuroscience



Pedagogy, Test Format, Assessment, Online companion software


The testing effect is a phenomenon that predicts increased retention of material when individuals are tested on soon-to-be-recalled information (McDaniel, Anderson, Derbish, & Morrisette, 2007). Although this effect is well documented in numerous studies, no study has looked at the impact that computer-based quizzes or online companion tools in a course can have on test performance. In addition to the use of online programs, it is important to understand whether or not the presentation of different question types can lead to increased or decreased student test performance. Although other pedagogical studies have looked at question order on student performance (Norman, 1954; Balch, 1989), none has looked at whether students exposed to questions in short answer format (testing free recall) before taking a multiple choice test (recognition memory) can lead to increased exam scores. The present study sought to understand how use of an online learning system (MindTap, Cengage) and test format order could affect final test scores. There were 5 exams (consisting of separate short answer and multiple choice sections) given to each set of Physiological Psychology students at George Mason University; each exam being worth 150 points. Results indicate that testing order (whether short-answer sections or multiple choice sections were taken first) impacts student test performance and this effect may be mediated by whether or not an online computer program is required. This research has implications for course organization and selection of test format, which may improve student performance.à

Author Biography

Stephen Lippi, George Mason University Psychology Department Cognitive & Behavioral Neuroscience

Doctoral student in the Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience program (PSYC department). Stephen's research interests include the role of Alzheimerââ¬â¢s disease (AD) pathology on behavior and the brain using mouse models of AD. Besides research, Stephen teaches upper level Psychology classes as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Psychology department. He is interested in the way that instructors can change their testing/course in order to promote increased student learning and test performance.





4:15pm-5:30pm POSTER SESSION (Group A- 4:15-4:45pm)