Effectiveness of Integrating Test-Enhanced Learning into a BSN Foundations of Nursing Class: A Pilot Project

Monday, 9 November 2015: 3:15 PM

Greta I. Marek, DNP, MSN, BSN, RN, CNE
Laura Dower, MSN, ADN, RN, FNP, CNE
College of Nursing, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN, USA

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a pilot project designed to assist student learning by incorporating weekly post-lecture quizzes intended to increase the spacing time of studying.  Numerous studies have reported the positive effect that test-enhanced learning (TEL) has on the long-term retention of information, or what is known as the testing effect, and that it is an effective teaching/learning strategy. We hypothesized that weekly quizzes would increase the frequency and time that a student spent studying lecture material and that the result would be better long-term retention of information and increased grades. Using a pretest-posttest study design, we used three retrospective sets of data from second semester baccalaureate nursing students for fall 2013 (n = 75) and spring 2014 (n = 105). Data gathered included: the Assessment Technologies Institute (ATI) Registered Nurse Content Mastery Exam for Fundamentals; the number of students with a grade of <75 prior to the final exam; and the number of students that failed the course. Standard teaching/learning strategies were used fall 2013 (pretest group), while TEL was implemented in spring 2014 (posttest group). For the pretest group’s ATI scores, there were 6 (6%) Level 3, 61 (58%) Level 2, 13 (17%) Level 1, and 1 (<1%) below Level 1. For the posttest group’s ATI scores, there were 18 (23%) Level 3, 46 (59%) Level 2, 13 (17%) Level 1, and no students below Level 1. There were 52 (50%) students with a grade <75 before the final exam in the pretest group, and 6 (8%) students in the posttest group.  A total of 6 (6%) students failed the course in the pretest group, compared to 5 (6%) in the posttest group. The findings indicate that TEL is an effective teaching/learning strategy that had a positive impact on the retention of course material. Limitations include that the study was not randomized, used a small sample size, was conducted at a single institution, and in a single course. Additional research is needed to determine the effectiveness of TEL in other settings and courses.