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Students' Predictions of Prose Forgetting and the Effects of Study Strategies

Hale, Gordon A.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
High School Students, Learning Processes, Memory, Note Taking, Retention (Psychology), Study Techniques


High school students read and were immediately tested on a prose passage, scored their own tests, then estimated how well they would have scored if tested after a delay of 1, 8, or 15 days. Data for these three hypothetical delay periods provided a "predicted forgetting function." An actual forgetting function was also obtained by administering a retention test after 1, 8, or 15 days with comparable questions. Within each of the 9 groups defined by the hypothetical and actual delay factors there were 2 strategy groups, students who only read the passage and those who took notes. After the immediate test the students in each strategy group estimated how well they would have scored if they had employed the alternate strategy. The results indicated a difference between predicted and actual forgetting, with the students expecting a larger amount of forgetting than actually occurred. Note taking had a small facilitative effect on learning. However, the students failed to predict positive effects of note taking. Students' expectations about effects of other strategies were also examined. Implications regarding metamemory and study skills are discussed. (39pp.)

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