Mnemonic Aids During Tests: Worthless Frivolity or Effective Tool in Statistics Education?

Publication Title

Journal of Instructional Pedagogies

Publication Date


Document Type



statistics education, testing aids, post-secondary students, engagement




Researchers have explored many pedagogical approaches in an effort to assist students in finding understanding and comfort in required statistics courses. This study investigates the impact of mnemonic aids used during tests on students’ statistics course performance in particular. In addition, the present study explores several hypotheses that have been proposed to explain the potential benefit of using these aids during examinations. These include the student engagement hypothesis, the perception of control hypothesis, the dependency hypothesis, and a placebo effect hypothesis. The results indicate that student-generated testing aids are clearly superior to the other forms of in-test aids examined, however they were not superior to conditions where mnemonic aids are not allowed. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for the four hypotheses regarding the beneficial effects of mnemonic aids used during examinations.