Differential Effects of Additional Formative Assessments on Student Learning Behaviors and Outcomes

Studia paedagogica: Learning Analytics to Study and Support Self-regulated Learning


It is well-established that formative assessments with accompanying feedback can enhance learning. However, the degree to which additional formative assessments on the same material further improve learning outcomes remains an open research question. Moreover, it is unclear whether providing additional formative assessments impacts self-regulated learning behavior, and if the benefits of such assessments depend on students' self-regulated learning behavior. The current study, conducted in a real-world blended learning setting and using a Learning Analytics approach, compares 154 students who completed additional formative assessments with 154 students who did not. The results indicate that the additional formative assessments led to an improvement in learning outcomes, but also had both positive and negative effects on students' self-regulated learning behavior. Students who completed additional formative assessments performed better on the assessments but reported lower levels of subjective comprehension and devoted more time to completing exercises. Simultaneously, they devoted less effort to additional learning activities (additional investment), such as class preparation and post-processing. Furthermore, the impact of additional formative assessments on learning success depended on students' self-regulated learning behavior. It was primarily the students who invested above-average time during formative assessments (time investment) who benefited from the additional exercises. Cluster analysis revealed that high-effort students (those with above-average time investment and above-average additional investment) gained the most from the extra exercises. In contrast, low-effort students and those who achieved high performance with relatively low effort (efficient students) did not benefit from additional formative assessments. In conclusion, providing students with additional formative assessments can enhance learning, but it should be done with caution as it can alter self-regulated learning behavior in both positive and negative ways, and not all students may benefit from it equally.

Klíčová slova:
(indirect) testing effect; formative assessments; feedback; self-regulated learning behavior; individual differences



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