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"None of the above" as a correct and incorrect alternative on a multiple-choice test: Implications for the testing effect

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Both positive and negative testing effects have been demonstrated with a variety of materials and paradigms (Roediger & Karpicke, 2006b). The present series of experiments replicate and extend the research of Roediger and Marsh (2005) with the addition of a "none-of-the-above" response option. Participants (n=32 in both experiments) read a set of passages, took an initial multiple-choice test, completed a filler task, and then completed a final cued-recall test (Experiment 1) or multiple-choice test (Experiment 2). Questions were manipulated on the initial multiple-choice test by adding a "none-of-the-above" response alternative (choice "E") that was incorrect ("E" Incorrect) or correct ("E" Correct). The results from both experiments demonstrated that the positive testing effect was negated when the "none-of-the-above" alternative was the correct response on the initial multiple-choice test, but was still present when the "none-of-the-above" alternative was an incorrect response.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Texas at Arlington, TX, USA

Publication date: November 1, 2007

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