Using diagrams versus text for spaced restudy: Effects on learning in 10th grade biology classes

Bradley W. Bergey, Jennifer G. Cromley, Mandy L. Kirchgessner, Nora S. Newcombe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Aim: Spaced restudy has been typically tested with written learning materials, but restudy with visual representations in actual classrooms is under-researched. We compared the effects of two spaced restudy interventions: A Diagram-Based Restudy (DBR) warm-up condition and a business-as-usual Text-Based Restudy (TBR) warm-up condition. Sample: One hundred and twenty-eight consented high school students in 15 classes. Methods: Students completed daily warm-ups over a 4-week period. Students were randomly assigned to conditions within classrooms. Warm-ups were independently completed at the start of class meetings and consisted of questions about content covered 1-10 days prior to each warm-up. Students received feedback on their answers each week. A series of ANOVAs and ANCOVAs was conducted. Results and Conclusions: Results showed equal and significant growth from pre- to post-test for both conditions (d = .31-67) on three outcomes: Biology knowledge, biology diagram comprehension (near transfer), and geology diagram comprehension (far transfer). ANCOVA results suggested that the magnitude of this increase was linked to the number of questions attempted during the intervention. For the DBR condition only, there were interactions with content knowledge on diagram comprehension gain scores and interactions with spatial scores on biology knowledge gain scores. Students with lower biology knowledge and lower Paper Folding Test scores were disadvantaged in the DBR condition, whereas the TBR condition was equitable across all levels of knowledge and spatial ability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-74
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Classroom intervention
  • Prior knowledge
  • Restudy
  • Spatial ability
  • Visual representations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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