Applied Cognitive Psychology

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Volume 33 Issue 2 (March 2019), Pages 149-322

Distributing mathematical practice of third and seventh graders: Applicability of the spacing effect in the classroom (pages 288-298)

Summary We examined the effect of distributed practice on the mathematical performance of third and seventh graders (N = 213) in school. Students first received an introduction to a mathematical topic, derived from their curriculum. Thereafter, they practiced in one of two conditions. In the massed condition, they worked on three practice sets in 1 day. In the distributed condition, they worked on one practice set per day for 3 consecutive days. Bayesian analyses of the performance in two follow‐up tests 1 and 6 weeks after the last practice set revealed a positive effect of distributed practice as compared with massed practice in Grade 7. In Grade 3, a positive effect of distributed practice was supported by the data only in the test 1 week after the last practice set. The results suggest that distributed practice is a powerful learning tool for both elementary and secondary school students in the classroom.

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