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The effect of the interaction between test expectancy and question placement on incidental learning Koe, George Gerald

Abstract

Problem The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of and the interaction between test expectancy and question placement on incidental learning from prose materials. It was expected that post-adjunct questions would lead to higher scores on a test of incidental learning than pre-adjunct questions. It was also expected that a test expectancy condition would lead to higher scores on a test of incidental learning than questions without test expectancy. Methods of Investigation The study sample was limited to Grade Ten and Eleven students enrolled in the Mission Senior Secondary School (Mission, B.C.) during the 1972-73 session. The study used a two by two by two factorial design. The factors were: a) question placement (pre-adjunct or post-adjunct), b) test expectancy (test expectancy present or test expectancy absent), and c) race (Indian or non-Indian) . The major hypotheses of this study were based on a two by two by two analysis of variance of scores on a test of incidental questions. This analysis tested the factors described in the design. General Conclusions The major conclusion of this study was that neither question placement nor test expectancy supported expectations which were based on the theoretical contentions of Rothkopf (1966, 1970). Moreover, findings with regard to question placement did not support expectations which were based on the findings of previous investigators (Frase, 1967; Rothkopf, 1966; Rothkopf & Bisbicos, 1967) . The only statistically significant findings of this study were that Indian subjects achieved higher scores than non-Indian subjects on the test of the incidental questions when test expectancy was absent and that Indian subjects achieved lower scores on the test of incidental questions than non-Indian subjects when test expectancy was present. However, the low reliabilities for the Indian subjects' scores, the wide variance in the non-Indian group, and the small sample size of the Indian group placed considerable constraint on the interpretation of this finding.

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