Researchers Find That Frequent Tests Can Boost Learning
It's a good read: summarizes several studies that show how we can (and should) "treat tests as occasions for learning" rather than simply grading/evaluation tools. It's based on a fairly simple and intuitive idea: frequent, small "tests" of understanding (e.g. interrupting readings or a lecture with a multiple short questions that all students have to answer and think about) increase the chances that learners will be able to retrieve the information later. The article includes several practical classroom examples.
This could be a GREAT discussion during the Cognition unit (especially if you talk about Cognition early in the course and discuss effective studying methods).
A few quotes from the article that summarize the findings:
- "Every time a student calls up knowledge from memory, that memory changes. Its mental representation becomes stronger, more stable and more accessible."
- "Our minds are sensitive to the likelihood that we'll need knowledge at a future time, and if we retrieve a piece of information now, there's a good chance we'll need it again,”
- “The process of retrieving a memory alters that memory in anticipation of demands we may encounter in the future.”
posted by Rob McEntarffer