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Influence of Feedback on Metacognitive Decisions about Spacing Practice Tests: A Framing Effect?
When learners can self-schedule the second presentation of a to-be-learned pair (i.e., choose the spacing), their choices depend on the nature of the expected second presentation. When a restudy opportunity is expected, they choose a long spacing for all items, especially the hardest. When a practice test is expected, they choose a short spacing for the hardest items and do so regardless of whether feedback (another study opportunity) follows the practice test. Ignoring feedback when choosing spacing seems suboptimal but could be explained by demand characteristics (an overt practice test) and/or timing (brief feedback). We eliminated factors that might minimize the effect of feedback but obtained the same results. Subsequent experimentation indicated that learners’ choices depend on whether a practice test with feedback is “framed” as a practice test with feedback or as a restudy opportunity preceded by a practice test. Implications for relevant metacognitive knowledge and strategies are considered.