Award Date

December 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences

First Committee Member

Mark A. Guadagnoli

Second Committee Member

Brach Poston

Third Committee Member

Gabriele Wulf

Fourth Committee Member

Robert Futrell

Number of Pages



Optimization of learning processes is the goal many educators strive to achieve with their students. One of the potential methods used towards optimizing this process is what’s known as the testing effect. The testing effect is the improved performance on a retention test as a result of prior testing during some period of practice. Previously, the testing effect was investigated using mostly cognitive tasks such as the learning of a number of words. In this paper, we examine the impact the testing effect has on learning the motor skill of putting. The study used a 2 x 2 mixed design, where the within-subjects factor had two levels of pre- and post-tests, and the between-subjects factor had two levels of practice and practice-test groups. A total of 24 participants were used in the study, all novice golfers (handicap 14+) who were asked to practice and learn a 10 foot putting task. The task was to be learned over 5 blocks of putting, where 15 putts per block were provided. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups: 1) Practice and 2) Practice-test, with the difference between groups being the perception of being tested or simply practicing. The primary dependent variables of interest were arousal level (salivary -amylase), putting stroke kinematics (acceleration and face-to-path), and end point error (absolute error and variance). Results from the study revealed a significant main effect for Test F (1, 22) = 8.452, p < .05 looking at variance in the y-measure direction (i.e., long or short of the target) across pre- post-tests. Additionally, when looking at variance in the z-measure direction (composite of x and y measures) a significant main effect for Test F (1, 22) = 9.033, p < .05 was found. Although not statistically significant, a trend towards a significant Group x Test interaction F (4, 88) = 2.469, p = .057 was seen in the reduced variance across each of the 5 practice blocks. There were no significant results to report from the analyses examining the accuracy of putting. In conclusion, the testing effect did not produce results any different to that of the traditional practice method used in the study. This suggests that for novice golfers, there are no added benefits of using testing during practice to improve their putting.


Golf; Learning; Practice; Strategies; Teaching; Testing effect



File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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