(c) 2011 Richard P Phelps

Nonpartisan Education Review / Resources

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The Effect of Testing on Achievement: Meta-Analyses and Research Summary, 1910–2010

Source List, Effect Sizes, and References for Quantitative Studies

 

The text of this study will be published in the International Journal of Testing. The study summarizes the research literature on the effect of testing on student achievement, which comprises several hundred studies conducted from the early 20th century to the present day. Only quantitative studies are listed here (N studies = 177; N effects = 640). Mean effect sizes range from a moderate ≈ 0.55 to a fairly large ≈ 0.88 depending on the way effects are aggregated or effect sizes are adjusted for study artifacts. Testing with feedback produces the strongest positive effect on achievement. Adding stakes or testing with greater frequency also strongly and positively affects achievement. The evidence from a century’s worth of quantitative studies shows the effect of testing on achievement to be moderately to strongly positive.

 

Smaller-scale studies, however, tend to produce stronger effects than do large-scale studies. Those who judge the effect of testing on achievement exclusively from large-sample multivariate studies deprive themselves of the most focused, clear, and precise evidence. Some prominent researchers in economics and education, for example, have claimed that no studies of “test-based accountability” had been conducted before theirs in the early 2000s. But, this list includes 24 studies completed before 2000 whose primary focus was to measure the effect of “test-based accountability.” A few dozen more pre-2000 studies also measured the effect of test-based accountability although such was not their primary focus. Include qualitative and program evaluation studies of test-based accountability, and the count of pre-2000 studies rises into the hundreds.


THE EFFECT OF TESTING ON ACHIEVEMENT, QUANTITATIVE STUDIES

 

Author

Year of pub

Primary focus of study

Level of educa-tion

Sub-level of education

Loca-tion

Geo-graphic context

Unit of analysis

Effect size*

Gates, A.I.

1917

retention

elem-sec

lower secondary

US

n/a

student

0.65

Jones, E.H.

1923

retention

postsec

undergrad

US

campus

student

1.42

Shore, Miles Victor

1925

testing frequency

elem-sec

lower secondary

IA

n/a

student

0.28

Panlasigui, Isidoro

1928

mastery testing

elem-sec

primary

US

city

student

0.20

Deputy, E. C.

1929

testing frequency

postsec

undergrad

IN

campus

student

0.82

Maloney, E. L., & Ruch, G. M.

1929

testing frequency

elem-sec

lower secondary

CA

n/a

student

1.30

Turney, A. H.

1931

testing frequency

postsec

undergrad

US

campus

student

4.52

Kulp, D. H.

1933

testing frequency

postsec

graduate

US

campus

student

1.05

Keys, N.

1934

testing frequency

postsec

undergrad

CA

campus

student

0.36

Noll, V. H.

1939

retention

postsec

undergrad

RI

campus

student

-0.25

Ross, C.C., & Henry, L. K.

1939

testing frequency

postsec

undergrad

IA

campus

student

1.31

Sones, A. M., & Stroud, J. B.

1939

retention

elem-sec

lower secondary

IA

n/a

student

-0.26

Spitzer, Herbert F.

1939

retention

elem-sec

intermediate

IA

city

student

0.85

Fitch, Mildred L., Drucker, A. J., & Norton, J. A., Jr.

1951

testing frequency

postsec

undergrad

IN

campus

student

0.74

Mudgett, A. G.

1956

testing frequency

postsec

undergrad

MN

campus

student

0.20

Standlee, L.S., & Popham, W. J.

1960

testing frequency

postsec

undergrad

IN

campus

student

0.46

Selakovich, D.

1962

testing frequency

postsec

undergrad

TX

campus

student

-0.10

Curo, D.M.

1963

testing frequency

elem-sec

upper secondary

IN

metro area

student

0.31

Laidlaw, W. J.

1963

testing frequency

postsec

undergrad

NJ

campus

student

-1.11

Denny, T., Paterson, J., & Feldhusen, J.

1964

testing frequency

postsec

undergrad

IN

campus

student

0.11

Sax, Gilbert, & Reade, Marybell

1964

practice test

postsec

undergrad

HA

campus

student

1.11

Stodola, Q.C., Eustice, D.E., & Kolstoe, R.H.

1964

testing frequency

postsec

undergrad

ND

campus

student

0.44

Pikunas & Mazzota

1965

testing frequency

elem-sec

upper secondary

MI

city

student

1.03

Rothkopf, Ernst Z.

1966

practice test

postsec

undergrad

NJ

campus

student

2.29

Wiggins, J. A.

1968

testing frequency

postsec

undergrad

NC

campus

student

1.30

Marso, R. N.

1970

mastery testing

postsec

undergrad

NE

campus

student

0.50

Donaldson, Wayne

1971

retention

postsec

undergrad

PA

campus

student

0.56

Hogan, Robert M. & Kintsch, Walter

1971

retention

postsec

undergrad

CO

campus

student

0.05

Lawler, R.M

1971

mastery testing

postsec

undergrad

FL

campus

student

1.37

Monk, J. J., & Stallings, W. M.

1971

testing frequency

postsec

undergrad

IL

campus

student

0.20

Block, J. H.

1972

mastery testing

elem-sec

lower secondary

OR

city

student

0.04

Okey, J.R., Brown, J.L., & Fiel, R.L.

1972

testing frequency

postsec

undergrad

CA

campus

student

1.34

Weber, L., & Olsen, R. E.

1972

retention

postsec

graduate

IL

campus

student

0.20

Robinson, P.

1972

account-ability

postsec

undergrad

UT

campus

student

0.22

Bostow, D.E. & O'Connor, R.J.

1973

mastery testing

postsec

undergrad

FL

campus

student

1.01

Shapiro, S. L.

1973

testing frequency

postsec

community postsec

NY

city

student

0.43

Sheldon, M.S., & Miller, E.D.

1973

mastery testing

postsec

community postsec

CA

campus

student

0.61

Wentling,T.L.

1973

mastery testing

elem-sec

upper secondary

IL

city

student

0.22

Calhoun, James F.

1973

mastery testing

postsec

undergrad

NY

campus

student

0.83

Martin, R.R, & Srikameswarant, Kam

1974

testing frequency & mastery testing

postsec

undergrad

Ontario

campus

student

0.27

Nation, J.R., Knight, J.M., Lamberth, J. & Dyck, D.G.

1974

mastery testing

postsec

undergrad

OK

campus

student

0.62

Okey, J.R.

1974

mastery testing

elem-sec

primary

IN

all

student

0.55

Semb, George

1974

mastery testing

postsec

undergrad

KS

campus

student

0.76

Hill, Mildred, et al.

1974

account-ability

elem-sec

primary

VT

school district

student

0.28

Reith, H., et al.

1974

testing frequency

elem-sec

intermediate

KS

suburban

student

0.47

Honeycutt, J.K.

1974

mastery testing

postsec

undergrad

OH

campus

student

1.61

Muha, Joseph F.

1974

mastery testing

postsec

community postsec

CA

campus

student

1.95

Anderson, Richard C. & Biddle, W. Barry

1975

retention

elem-sec

adults

IL

rural

student

0.52

Fiel, R.L., & Okey, J.R.

1975

mastery testing

elem-sec

lower secondary

IN

city

student

0.66

Goldwater, B.C.& Acker, L.E.

1975

mastery testing

postsec

undergrad

Canada

campus

student

0.77

Jones, F.G.

1975

mastery testing

elem-sec

lower secondary

GA

metro area

student

0.57

Knight, J.M., Williams, J.D., & Jardon, M.L.

1975

mastery testing

postsec

undergrad

TX

campus

student

0.60

Modigliani, Vito

1975

retention

elem-sec

lower secondary

CT

city

student

1.80

Anderson, Lorin W.

1975

mastery testing

elem-sec

lower secondary

SC

metro area

student

2.06

Decker, D.F.

1976

mastery testing

postsec

undergrad

RI

campus

student

2.28

Fehlen, J.E.

1976

mastery testing

postsec

undergrad

MN

campus

student

0.39

Gaynor, Jessica & Millham, Jim

1976

testing frequency

postsec

undergrad

TX

campus

student

0.36

Gay, Lorraine R., & Gallagher, Paul D.

1976

retention

postsec

graduate

FL

campus

student

0.94

Hymel, G.M. & Gaines, W.G.

1977

mastery testing

elem-sec

upper secondary

LA

city

student

1.84

Kulik, J.A., Kulik, C. C., & Hertzler, E.C.

1977

mastery testing

postsec

undergrad

MI

campus

student

0.62

Nation, J.R., Massad, P., & Wilkerson, D.

1977

mastery testing

postsec

undergrad

TX

campus

student

0.86

Landauer, T.K. & Bjork, R.A.

1978

retention

postsec

undergrad

IL

campus

student

0.75

Badia, Harsh, & Stutts

1978

testing frequency

postsec

undergrad

OH

campus

student

0.40

Caldwell, E.C., et al.

1978

mastery testing

postsec

undergrad

WV

campus

student

1.60

Strasler, G.M.

1978

mastery testing

elem-sec

lower secondary

SC

metro area

student

1.66

Wellisch, J., et al.

1978

account-ability

elem-sec

intermediate

CA

city

school

1.17

Burrows, Charles K. & Okey, James R.

1979

mastery testing

elem-sec

intermediate

IN

city

student

2.24

Guskey, T.R. & Monsaas, J.A.

1979

mastery testing

postsec

community postsec

IL

campus

student

0.16

Down, A. Graham

1979

account-ability

elem-sec

upper secondary

CO

city

student

1.45

Down, A. Graham

1979

account-ability

elem-sec

upper secondary

NC

school district

student

1.22

Benson, J.S. & Yeany, R.H.

1980

mastery testing

postsec

undergrad

GA

campus

student

1.05

Chiappetta, E.L. & McBride, J.W.

1980

mastery testing

elem-sec

lower secondary

TX

n/a

student

0.61

Yeany, R.H., Dost, R.J., & Matthews, R.W.

1980

mastery testing

postsec

undergrad

GA

campus

student

0.76

Parramore, Barbara M., et al.

1980

account-ability

elem-sec

upper secondary

NC

all

student

0.83

Duchastel, P.C.

1981

retention

elem-sec

lower secondary

UK

n/a

student

0.05

Leppmann, P.K., & Herrmann, T.F.

1981

testing frequency

postsec

undergrad

Canada

campus

student

0.94

Lueckemeyer, C.L.& Chiappetta, E. L.

1981

mastery testing

elem-sec

upper secondary

TX

suburban

student

0.56

Saunders-Harris, R, & Yeany, R.H.

1981

mastery testing

elem-sec

lower secondary

GA

metro area

student

0.51

Nungester, Ronald J. & Duchastel, Philippe C.

1982

retention

elem-sec

upper secondary

PA

suburban

student

0.64

Bryant, N. Dale; Fayne, Harriet R.: & Gettinger, Maribeth

1982

mastery testing

elem-sec

intermediate

NY, IN

city

student

1.82

Mayer, V.J., & Rojas, C.A.

1982

testing frequency

elem-sec

lower secondary

OH

suburban

student

0.13

Brunton, Max L.

1982

account-ability

elem-sec

upper secondary

OR

school district

student

0.81

Arlin, M. & Webster, J.

1983

mastery testing

elem-sec

lower secondary

Canada

city

student

0.82

Clark, C.R.; Guskey, T.R.; & Benninga, J.S.

1983

mastery testing

postsec

undergrad

KY

campus

student

0.89

Dillashaw, F.G. & Okey, J.R.

1983

mastery testing

elem-sec

secondary

SC

rural

student

0.88

Runquist, Willard N.

1983

retention

postsec

undergrad

Canada

campus

student

2.96

Fuchs, Lynn S.; Deno, Stanley L.; & Mirkin, Phyllis K.

1984

testing frequency

elem-sec

intermediate

NY

city

teacher

0.77

Dunkelberger, G.E., Henry Heikkinen

1984

mastery testing

elem-sec

lower secondary

DE

suburban

student

0.20

Guskey, T.R., Benninga, J.S.,& Clark, C.R.

1984

mastery testing

postsec

undergrad

n/a

campus

student

0.78

Slavin, R.E. & Karweit, N.L.

1984

mastery testing

elem-sec

lower secondary

PA

city

student

0.09

Ketchie, Gary Joseph

1984

account-ability

elem-sec

upper secondary

LA, FL

all

school

3.71

Marsh, Robert

1984

retention

postsec

undergrad

NC

campus

student

0.60

Walstad, William B

1984

practice test

elem-sec

lower secondary

MO

all

district

0.27

LeMahieu, Paul G.

1984

mastery testing

elem-sec

primary

PA

city

student

0.19

Blackburn, K,T, & Nelson, D

1985

mastery testing

postsec

undergrad 

GA

campus

student

1.69

McDaris, M. A.

1985

testing frequency & mastery testing

postsec

undergrad

OK

campus

student

5.77

Hyde, R. M., et al.

1985

account-ability

postsec

graduate

OK

campus

student

1.32

Fuchs, Lynn S., & Fuchs, Douglas

1986

mastery testing

elem-sec

primary

MN

rural

student

0.32

Mangino, E.; Battaile, R.; Washington, W.; & Rumbaut, M.

1986

account-ability

elem-sec

upper secondary

TX

metro area

student

0.44

Rohm, R.A.; Sparzo, F.J.; & Bennett, C.M.

1986

retention

postsec

undergrad

IN

campus

student

1.97

Koffler, Stephen L.

1987

account-ability

elem-sec

lower secondary

NJ

all

student

0.47

Winfield, Linda F.

1987

account-ability

elem-sec

lower secondary

US

all

student

0.28

Beaulieu, R. P., & Frost, B. F.

1989

testing frequency

postsec

undergrad

MI

campus

student

0.60

Dineen, P, Taylor, J. & Stephens, Larry.

1989

testing frequency

elem-sec

upper secondary

NE

suburban

student

0.61

Glover, John A.

1989

retention

postsec

undergrad

IN

campus

student

1.94

Strawitz, Barbara M.

1989

testing frequency

postsec

undergrad

LA

campus

student

0.26

Haynie, W.J. III

1990

retention

elem-sec

lower secondary

NC

all

student

0.66

Cone, Al L.

1990

testing frequency & mastery testing

postsec

undergrad

ND

campus

student

0.56

Johnson, P.E.

1990

testing frequency & mastery testing

postsec

undergrad

NC

campus

student

0.99

Schloss, P. J., Smith, M. A., & Posluzsny, M.

1990

mastery testing

postsec

graduate

NY

campus

student

1.06

McTarnaghan, Roy E.

1990

account-ability

postsec

undergrad

FL

all

student

0.93

Clariana, R.B., Ross, S.M., & Morrison, G.R.

1991

mastery testing

elem-sec

upper secondary

TN

city

student

1.06

Haynie, W.J. III

1991

retention

postsec

undergrad

NC

campus

student

0.92

Rodgers, Natalie; and Others

1991

account-ability

elem-sec

upper secondary

TX

metro area

student

0.11

Morris, Don R.

1991

account-ability

elem-sec

all

FL

city

student

1.60

Kika, Frank M.; McLaughlin, T.F.; and Dixon, J.

1992

testing frequency

elem-sec

upper secondary

British Columbia

rural

student

0.40

Carrier, Mark, & Pashler, Harold

1992

retention

postsec

undergrad

CA

campus

student

0.72

Jacobson, J.E.

1992

account-ability

elem-sec

upper secondary

US

all

student

0.65

Potter, David C., & Wall, Mary Ellen

1992

account-ability

elem-sec

primary

SC

all

student

0.25

Wheeler, Mark A., & Roediger, Henry L., III

1992

testing frequency

postsec

undergrad

TX

campus

student

1.45

Brown, Steven M. & Walberg, Herbert J.

1993

account-ability

elem-sec

primary

IL

city

student

0.38

Chao-Qun, Wei & Hui, Zhang

1993

account-ability

elem-sec

all

China

city

student

1.07

Haynie, W.J. III

1994

retention

postsec

undergrad

NC

campus

student

0.64

Ritchie, Donn & Thorkildsen, Ron

1994

account-ability

elem-sec

intermediate

n/a

city

student

1.35

Fredericksen, N.

1994

account-ability

elem-sec

primary

US

all

student

0.11

Haynie, W.J. III

1995

retention

postsec

undergrad

NC

campus

student

1.10

Haynie, W.J. III

1997

retention

postsec

undergrad

NC

campus

student

1.17

Strauss, R.P., Bowes, L.L., Marks, M.S., & Plesko, M.R.

1998

account-ability

elem-sec

lower secondary

PA

all

district

0.17

Grissmer, David & Flanagan, Ann

1998

account-ability

elem-sec

lower secondary

US

all

student

0.20

Deck, D. W. Jr.

1998

testing frequency

postsec

undergrad

WV

campus

student

0.34

Bishop, John H.

1999

account-ability

elem-sec

upper secondary

Canada

all

school

0.66

DeMars, C.E.

2000

account-ability

elem-sec

upper secondary

MI

all

student

0.74

Klass, G., & Crothers, L.

2000

mastery testing

postsec

undergrad

IL

campus

student

1.07

Bishop, John H.

2000

account-ability

elem-sec

upper secondary

US

all

state

1.76

Massachusetts Finance Office

2000

account-ability

elem-sec

primary

MA

all

student

0.24

Toenjes, L..A., Dworkin, A.G., Lorence, J., & Hill, A.N.

2000

account-ability

elem-sec

upper secondary

TX

all

student

0.38

Wenglinsky, Harold

2000

testing frequency

elem-sec

lower secondary

US

all

student

3.19

Woessmann, Ludger

2000

account-ability

elem-sec

secondary

internat-ional

all

student

0.15

Guza, D. S., & McLaughlin, T. F.

2001

testing frequency

elem-sec

intermediate

British Columbia

n/a

student

0.65

Phelps, Richard

2001

account-ability

elem-sec

lower secondary

internat-ional

all

nation

3.19

Rosenblatt, Zehava, & Offer, Shimoni

2001

account-ability

elem-sec

lower secondary

Israel

n/a

student

0.34

Jacob, Brian A

2001

account-ability

elem-sec

secondary

US

all

student

0.02

Bishop, J.H., Mane, F., Bishop, M., & Moriatry, J.

2001

account-ability

elem-sec

intermediate, secondary

US

all

student

0.50

Haynie, W.J. III

2002

retention

postsec

undergrad

NC

campus

student

1.15

Haynie, W.J. III

2002

retention

postsec

undergrad

NC

campus

student

0.29

Tighe, Erin, Wang, Aubrey, & Foley, Ellen

2002

account-ability

elem-sec

all

PA

city

school

1.47

Carnoy, Martin; Loeb, Susanna

2002

account-ability

elem-sec

intermediate

US

all

student

0.78

Amrein & Berliner

2002

account-ability

elem-sec

intermediate, lower secondary

US

all

student

0.09

Haynie, W.J. III

2003

retention

postsec

undergrad

NC

campus

student

0.86

McDonald, Betty & Boud, David

2003

mastery testing

elem-sec

upper secondary

Barbados

all

student

0.50

Standards Work, Inc.

2003

account-ability

elem-sec

all

VA

all

student

0.19

Baek, Sun-Geun, & Kim, Kyoung Jin

2003

mastery testing

early childhood

early childhood

Korea

n/a

student

1.27

Meisels, et al.

2003

account-ability

elem-sec

primary

PA

city

student

0.74

Noble, Julie

2003

practice test

elem-sec

secondary

US

all

student

0.10

Braun, Henry

2003

account-ability

elem-sec

intermediate

US

all

student

0.22

Amrein-Beardsley & Berliner

2003

account-ability

elem-sec

intermediate

US

all

student

0.61

Raymond, M.E., & Hanushek, E.A.

2003

account-ability

elem-sec

intermediate

US

all

student

0.95

Rosenshine

2003

account-ability

elem-sec

intermediate, lower secondary

US

all

student

0.66

Bishop, John H.

2004

account-ability

elem-sec

secondary

internat-ional

all

nation

0.24

Hanushek, E.A. & Raymond, M.E.

2004

account-ability

elem-sec

intermediate, lower secondary

US

all

student

0.31

Audette, Bernard P.

2005

account-ability

elem-sec

upper secondary

MA

school district

student

1.42

Baek, Sun-Geun, & Hwang, Eun-Hui

2005

testing frequency

elem-sec

lower secondary

Korea

n/a

student

1.13

Roediger, Henry L., III, & Marsh, Elizabeth J.

2005

retention

postsec

undergrad

MO

campus

student

2.73

Williams, Natasha J., & Noble, Julie P.

2005

practice test

elem-sec

upper secondary

US

all

school

1.83

Chan, J.C.K., McDermott, K.B., & Roediger, H.L. III

2006

retention

postsec

undergrad

MO

campus

student

1.66

Grodsky, Warren, & Kalogrides

2006

account-ability

elem-sec

lower secondary

US

all

student

0.06

Roediger, H.L., III, & Karpicke, J.D.

2006

retention

postsec

undergrad

MO

campus

student

0.92

Struyven, K., Dochy, F., Janssens, S., Schelfhout, W., & Gielen, S.

2006

testing frequency

postsec

undergrad

Belgium

campus

student

1.27

Nichols, S.L., Glass, G.V., & Berliner, D.C.

2006

account-ability

elem-sec

intermediate

US

all

student

0.21

Alvarez, J.; Moreno, V.G.; & Patrinos, H.A.

2007

account-ability

elem-sec

upper secondary

Mexico

all

student

0.33

Karpicke, Jeffrey D., & Roediger, Henry L. III

2007

retention

postsec

undergrad

MO

campus

student

0.80

ACT

2008

practice test

elem-sec

upper secondary

AR, OK, WV

all

student

0.09

Marsh, E.J., Agarwal, R.K., & Roediger, H.L. III

2009

retention

postsec

undergrad

NC

all

student

2.13

Marsh, E.J., Agarwal, R.K., & Roediger, H.L. III

2009

retention

elem-sec

upper secondary

IL

all

student

3.87

 

* These are unweighted effect sizes adjusted for measurement imprecision in the dependent variable and, where appropriate, small study sample size.


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