Background to the study

Physics is a fascinating subject that explores the nature of matter and energy, and how they interact with each other. However, many students, especially females, find physics challenging and intimidating. They may struggle with understanding abstract concepts, applying mathematical skills, and retaining information for exams. How can teachers help female students overcome these difficulties and improve their performance in physics?

One possible solution is to use frequent testing as a teaching strategy. Frequent testing is the practice of giving students short and regular tests on the topics they have learned, either before or after the instruction. Frequent testing has several benefits for students’ learning and achievement, such as: Enhancing memory and retention: Frequent testing helps students review and recall the information they have learned, which strengthens their memory and prevents forgetting. This is known as the testing effect1, which states that retrieving information from memory improves long-term retention more than restudying or rereading the same information. Increasing motivation and engagement: Frequent testing encourages students to study more often and more effectively, as they know they will be tested on the material. This increases their motivation and engagement in the learning process. Frequent testing also provides students with feedback on their progress and performance, which can boost their confidence and self-efficacy. Improving comprehension and application: Frequent testing helps students deepen their understanding of the concepts they have learned, as they have to process and organize the information in their own words. Frequent testing also helps students apply their knowledge to new situations and problems, as they have to transfer and generalize the information they have retrieved.

A learner-centric technique supports the perception that students should be active members of a class, and this has been a new approach to physics courses (Tosuncuoglu, 2018). In this vein, frequent tests in the classroom are used by physics teachers to check students’ acquisition levels. It is common knowledge that frequent tests provide an opportunity to measure the performance of students’ academic work. In their view, Meyer, Davidson, McKenzie, Rees, Anderson, Fletcher and Johnston (2020) posited that frequent testing is pivotal for the existence of academic work in educational institutions.

Frequently testing students at the right time and in the right proportions, according to Oncul (2017) has a valuable contribution to make in assessing students’ proficiency, progress, and achievement. Lahey (2014) reported that frequent testing as a very effective educational tool is being thrown out with educational bathwater, hence students must be tested more, not less.


Notwithstanding, Berry (2020) argues that testing can evoke negative memories for learners such as being anxious and above all fearing failure and worrying about what others may think of their abilities. These negative perceptions may affect performance to a great extent. But Leavitt (2020) pointed out that this could only materialize when enrolling in a course where there is only a midterm and a final test. This is because if a student fails or does poorly on the midterm test, then an outstanding performance on the final test is his or her only chance of passing and this would lead to Berry’s assertions and a lot of cramming of concepts.

However, research (Vaessen et al. 2016) has shown that these assertions can be reduced greatly, most especially when multiple smaller (frequent) tests are deployed, each counting towards the final grade (Holmes, 2015). A widely held view of frequent testing essentially likens a good test to a mirror. When held up to a student, it faithfully reflects his or her knowledge and skills back to the test administrator. It is true that testing reveals what we do and do not know, with some limitations. But unlike a mirror, frequent test also changes what we know (Benjamin & Pashler, 2015).

Classroom quizzes are useful for evaluating cognitive learning in the course of content. Its potent effect lies in what the scholars call “effortful retrieval” (Srivastava, Mishra & Waghmare, 2018). Roediger and Karpicke (2016), as cited in Grieving and Richter (2018) also indicated that potency of testing is superior to restudying the learning material. This finding, the authors called testing effect or retrieval practice effect. These authors intimated that superiority of testing compared to restudying might not be detected until later when multiple smaller (frequent) tests are deployed. Because of this latent effect, testing or retrieval practice is sometimes regarded as a desirable difficulty (Bjork, 2018 as cited in Greving & Richter 2018). Desirable difficulties are defined as learning occasions that may hamper learning in the short run but enhance learning in the long run (Greving & Richter, 2018). Testing students frequently do not just test a person’s knowledge level but it also affects that level. This effect according to San (2016) is also called testing effect. This author established that the less one uses a piece of information, the further back in the memory the brain will stuff it, and it may take quite a bit of effort to pull it out again. This implies that if students are tested less frequently they tend to easily forget the concepts being taught and retrieving the information becomes very difficult.

It appears that frequent educational testing has been a popular topic of research since the early 20th century. Frequent testing studies (Smith & Weinstein, 2016; Kleeman, 2012; Gooblar, 2014; Benjamin & Pashler, 2015 and Adkins & Linville, 2017) in other areas highlight the benefits of frequent testing, while some findings (Lahey, 2014; Adkins & Linville, 2017; Zarei, 2015; Gholami, 2013 and Alade & Kuku, 2017) suggest several drawbacks.

Statement of the problems    

 The performance of students in physics is influenced by many factors, such as their prior knowledge, interest, motivation, teaching methods, and assessment strategies. One of the assessment strategies that is widely used in physics education is frequent testing, which involves giving students multiple tests on the same or related topics throughout a course. Frequent testing is intended to enhance students’ learning, retention, and transfer of physics concepts by providing them with feedback, practice, and reinforcement. However, frequent testing may also have some negative effects on students’ performance, such as increasing their anxiety, reducing their intrinsic motivation, and inducing superficial learning strategies.

Therefore, it is important to investigate the effect of frequent testing on student performance in some selected physics concepts, such as kinematics, dynamics, and energy. The main research question of this study is: How does frequent testing affect student performance in some selected physics concepts?  

Objectives of the study

the main objectives of this study is to effect of frequent testing on student performance in some selected physics concepts in ----------- local government area

1.     To examine the effects of frequent testing on students' physics class attendance.

2.     To investigate the effects of frequent testing on students' study habits in physics class.

3.     To assess the effects of frequent testing on students' anxiety towards physics class.

4.     To determine the effects of frequent testing on students' level of retention of concepts in physics class.

Research questions

 The following research questions were raised to guide the study

(1) What are the effects of frequent testing on   students’ physics class attendance?

(2) What are the effects of frequent testing on   students’ study habits in physics class?

(3) What are the effects of frequent testing on   students’ anxiety towards physics class?

(4) What are the effects of frequent testing on  students’ level of retention of concepts in physics class?



Significance of the study

The study on the effects of frequent testing on students' performance in physics  is significant for several reasons:

Educational Improvement: The findings of this study can help educators and institutions make informed decisions about testing practices in physics education. Understanding the impact of frequent testing can lead to more effective teaching methods and curriculum design. The study can provide insights into how testing frequency influences students' learning and retention of physics concepts. This information can be used to develop strategies that promote a deeper understanding of the subject matter.  By examining the effects of frequent testing on students' study habits, the study can offer recommendations for students on how to approach their studies effectively, potentially leading to improved academic performance.  If the study finds that frequent testing positively affects students' attendance in physics class, it can encourage institutions to adopt testing practices that improve class participation and engagement.

The study can inform teachers and educational institutions about the need to adapt their curricula and teaching methods to align with the preferences and needs of students regarding testing practices.

Educational Policy: The results of the study can influence educational policies and guidelines, potentially leading to changes in testing frequency recommendations and requirements.

Research Contribution: This study adds to the existing body of research on the effectiveness of educational practices, specifically in the context of physics education. It provides valuable data that can contribute to the broader field of educational research.

Student Well-being: Understanding the relationship between frequent testing and student well-being can lead to more student-centered approaches to education, prioritizing both academic performance and the overall well-being of students.

Decision-Making: The study's findings can help students, teachers, parents, and educational administrators make informed decisions about the frequency of testing in physics education, taking into consideration its potential effects on various aspects of the learning experience.

Scope of the study

This research is aimed at investigating the  effect of frequent testing on student performance in some selected physics concepts. The study covers five selected senior secondary schools.


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