Older Adults Do as Well as Younger Ones on Tests
Older people who haven’t been in school for a while can learn just as much from taking tests as younger people can, a new study shows.
Researchers have already established that people learn material better when they are tested on it, instead of rereading it. But this study, conducted by psychologists from Rice University in Texas, examined how well older people did on such tests.
In the experiment , the subjects first read materials on black holes, tsunamis, the human heart and armadillos. They did math problems to distract them and were then tested in a multiple-choice test on their knowledge of two subjects. After getting feedback on how they did on the tests, they did an essay test on the other two subjects as well as math problems. Those who took the second part of the test the same day as the first did significantly better than those who waited two days to take the second part.
The results of the study, the experts said, suggest that older adults could benefit from test-taking as they try to gain new skills and knowledge while moving through new phases of their career. "Our research suggests that testing may be one way to help them improve and move up, “study co-author Ashley Rice, Ph.D., said in a statement.
All the participants had a college education, and the researchers said further studies were needed to see if there were similar results in people with other educational levels.
The findings were published in Psychology and Aging.