Guessing as a learning intervention: A meta-analytic review of the prequestion effect

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2022-05
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St. Hilaire, Kyle J.
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Chan, Jason C. K.
Meissner, Christian A.
Grundy, John G.
Crede, Marcus
Prieto, Loreto R.
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Psychology
Abstract
Giving students test questions before they have learned the correct answers (i.e., prequestions) enhances learning. However, the benefits of prequestions are generally specific to the initially tested material and do not generalize to new, non-tested material at posttest. In this preregistered review, I summarize the literature on the Prequestion Effect, describe the attention-based account underlying this effect, report a meta-analysis of the magnitude of the specific and general effects, and explore theoretically and empirically relevant moderator variables that influence the size and direction of the general and specific Prequestion Effects. Results of the preregistered meta-analysis demonstrated a moderate specific effect (g = 0.58, k = 90) but a virtually non-existent general effect (g = 0.04, k = 85). Overall, the attention-based account received moderate support from the theoretically relevant moderator analyses. Future researchers are encouraged to conduct theoretically motivated studies to help clarify the precursors to attention, and to explore the benefits of prequestions in educational domains to establish whether these effects translate into the classroom.
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