VLI 7(1): Kanayama & Kasahara (2018)

The Indirect Effects of Testing: Can Poor Performance in a Vocabulary Quiz Lead to Long-Term L2 Vocabulary Retention?
Kohei Kanayama (a) and Kiwamu Kasahara (b)
(a) Sapporo Otani High School; (b) Hokkaido University of Education
doi: https://doi.org/10.7820/vli.v07.1.kanayama.kasahara
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Taking a test on learned items enhances long-term retention of these items. However, it is believed that good performance in a test contributes to subsequent high retention of the tested items while poor performance does not. Recent studies have sought to find the optimal way to make up for this poor performance, and have indicated that giving the subsequent learning session soon after the test is one such way. This study is different from previous studies in that we used L1–L2 word pairs to examine whether restudying immediately after the failure in the test is useful for long-term retention. First, in the initial study session, all the participants (n = 52) were shown and asked to remember 20 English and Japanese word pairs (e.g., deceit:詐欺). A week later, Group A took the first test session (Initial Test) before the restudy session. On the contrary, Group B took the restudy session before the Initial Test. An hour after this session, both groups took Posttest 1. Then, Posttest 2 was conducted a week after Posttest 1. The results showed that Group A had significantly lower scores than Group B in the Initial Test (2% vs. 55%). However, the results were reversed in Posttest 1 (84.2% vs. 53.2%) and Posttest 2 (55% vs. 43.5%). This study found that a restudy session soon after poor performance in the Initial Test enhanced long-term L2 vocabulary retention because learners benefited from the indirect effects of testing. Thus, English teachers should take such effects into consideration when organizing vocabulary quizzes and restudy sessions.

Kanayama, K. & Kasahara, K. (2018). The indirect effects of testing: Can poor performance in a vocabulary quiz lead to long-term L2 vocabulary retention? Vocabulary Learning and Instruction, 7 (1), 1–13. doi: 10.7820/vli.v07.1.kanayama.kasahara