Prior-to-exam: what activities enhance performance?

Rhoads, C. J.; Healy, Therese
April 2013
Journal of Instructional Pedagogies;Apr2013, Vol. 10, p1
Academic Journal
Can instructors impact their student performance by recommending an activity just prior to taking an exam? In this study, college students were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups (study, exercise, or meditation) or a control group. Each group was given two different types of tests; a traditional concept exam, and a non-traditional hands-on exam designed to test mastery of computer applications. A multiple analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) was conducted. Although the same pattern is seen in both the IT Concepts exam and the Hands-On Computer Application exam, significance was only reached in the latter. The study group performed about the same as the control group. The exercise group performed much worse. The meditation group did better than any other group in the study. The authors conclude that prior-to-exam activity may be a strong influence in exam performance, especially when the exam is testing a combination of kinesthetic and cognitive information such as that needed for hands-on computer application exams. Further research is needed to determine the parameters for the scope of activities that influence performance.


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