The Effect of Type of Feedback in Multiple-Choice Testing on Long-Term Retention

Yoonhee Jang, Elaine Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigated how different types of feedback in multiple-choice testing influence long-term retention. Participants completed an initial multiple-choice test on general-knowledge questions. Then, they were randomly placed into one of the following four conditions: feedback displaying the original question and four alternative options including the correct answer (Feedback 1); feedback displaying the original question and the correct answer (Feedback 2); feedback displaying only the correct answer (Feedback 3); and no feedback (Control). On the final test two days later, participants in the feedback conditions showed improved retention—even participants who received Feedback 3 outperformed the control group, regardless of whether feedback followed correct or incorrect responses. There was no difference between the feedback conditions when feedback followed correct responses, but Feedback 1 was superior to Feedback 3 when feedback followed incorrect responses. The function of feedback in multiple-choice testing is to maintain correct responses and to correct erroneous responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-119
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of General Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2018


  • feedback
  • long-term retention
  • multiple-choice testing

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