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Abstract

Collaborative testing is becoming a widely used method of assessment in science education, as well as many other disciplines. While performance gains have been consistently reported, learning gains have not been quite as clearly documented. Learning gains are often measured by assessing the retention of tested concepts. We designed and conducted a study to assess whether retention was greater in a two-stage collaborative exam where students received immediate feedback rather than multiple-choice with no feedback during the collaborative stage. All students first wrote the multiple-choice test individually before re-writing the exam in small groups and receiving feedback via scratch cards based on either the first or second half of the test, with no feedback for the other half. Two weeks later, students were given a retention quiz with five questions concept-matched to each half of the original test. There was no significant difference in retention found between the randomized groups. Interestingly, however, we observed that those who received feedback on the first half of the collaborative stage of the exam performed better on the collaborative exam overall, despite there being no difference in individual marks between the two groups. This effect remained even when the test component with feedback was marked dichotomously, without part marks awarded for correctness on the second or third attempt.


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