2016 Mary Hennessey Blum Lecture

Dr. Shana Carpenter

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Iowa State University 


Presentation Title: Classroom Studies on the Relationship between Student Achievement and Retrieval-Enhanced Learning

Date: April 7, 2016

Location: MUB, Theater II


Abstract of Presentation:

Retrieval practice has been shown to produce powerful learning gains in laboratory experiments, but has seldom been explored in classrooms as a means of enhancing students’ learning of course-relevant material. Furthermore, research is lacking concerning the role of individual differences in learning from retrieval. The current studies explore the effects of retrieval in a large undergraduate introductory biology course as a function of individual differences in student achievement. Students completed in-class exercises that required them to retrieve course information (e.g., recalling definitions for Biology terms) followed by feedback, or to simply copy the information without retrieving it. A later quiz over the information showed that high-performing students benefited more from retrieving than copying, whereas middle- and low-performing students benefited more from copying than retrieving. When asked to predict their quiz scores following the in-class exercises, high-performers demonstrated better overall metacognitive calibration compared to middle- or low-performers. These results are consistent with research on the expertise reversal effect, and highlight the important role that individual student differences play in the effectiveness of a given learning technique. 


Dr. Carpenter's Bio:

Dr. Carpenter earned her Ph.D. from Colorado State University in 2004, and then spent three years as a postdoc at the University of California, San Diego.  She has always been interested in how memory works and how we can improve it. In her lab at Iowa State, she works on a number of studies that explore basic memory principles, and how these principles can be applied toward improving education and training.