The effect of type and timing of feedback on learning from multiple-choice tests

J Exp Psychol Appl. 2007 Dec;13(4):273-81. doi: 10.1037/1076-898X.13.4.273.


Two experiments investigated how the type and timing of feedback influence learning from a multiple-choice test. First, participants read 12 prose passages, which covered various general knowledge topics (e.g., The Sun) and ranged between 280 and 300 words in length. Next, they took an initial six-alternative, multiple-choice test on information contained in the passages. Feedback was given immediately for some of the multiple-choice items or after delay for other items. Participants were either shown the correct answer as feedback (standard feedback) or were allowed to keep answering until the correct answer was discovered (answer-until-correct feedback). Learning from the test was assessed on a delayed cued-recall test. The results indicated that delayed feedback led to superior final test performance relative to immediate feedback. However, type of feedback did not matter: discovering the correct answer through answer-until-correct feedback produced equivalent performance relative to standard feedback. This research suggests that delaying the presentation of feedback after a test is beneficial to learning because of the spaced presentation of information.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Choice Behavior*
  • Educational Measurement
  • Feedback*
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Time Factors