Improving students’ long-term knowledge through personalized review Lindsey Shroyer Pashler Mozer 2013

John D’s questions:

  • What was the human and financial cost for this gain?
  • Was this gain course specific?
  • If it was course specific, was a useful gain?
  • Was it useful in using the language or was it useful in getting multiple choice questions correct on a computerized test?

Definitely the right questions to ask for any district considering adopting personalized review software (or any other educational software).

What I glean from a quick skim is that prior to this study students had already been using a software flash-card program, so the ‘personalized’ software flash cards were simply swapped in while the non-personalized flash cards were swapped out. Nothing else appears to have changed. (I think students still took their final exams via paper-and-pencil, though I’m not sure.)

Looks to me as if the gains students made would have been no more or less useful than the gains they were making with the previous software.

No consideration is given to the question of how well knowledge gained via any form of software flash card transfers to Spanish conversation, reading, and writing.

Excerpts from the study