The application of such research-based strategies to homework is a yet-untapped opportunity to raise student achievement. Science has shown us how to turn homework into a potent catalyst for learning. Our assignment now is to make it happen.
A great deal has been written about the impact of retrieval practice on memory. That’s because the effect is sizable, it has been replicated many times and it seems to lead not just to better memory but deeper memory that supports transfer.
Retrieval-based learning could be a game changer for you and your students.
Emphasize to your student the importance of allowing retrieval to be a struggle— do not give up too early and peek at notes!
Research has shown that retrieval is much better for cementing understanding in long-term memory than commonly used strategies like re-reading, highlighting, underlining, note-taking, reading review sheets, watching a video, and listening to a lecture. These strategies may produce short-term gains when cramming for a test, but memory researchers have found that they don’t produce long-term retention.
Tell [students] what the research says about the value of quizzing and retrieval practice and about your decision to use it. They still might not love taking quizzes during the long slogging weeks of October, but they will recognize their value and reap the rewards on those final assessments in December.
I felt my way into [retrieval practice], and I’ve seen it work such wonders that I want to get up on a mountaintop and shout so everyone can hear me: ‘You should be doing this, too!’
The [Retrieval Practice Guide] clearly explains what retrieval practice is, how it improves memory and learning, and how to do it in your classroom. It represents a perfect blend of research and best classroom practices!
Some people think that ramming information into their brain over and over again is the best way to learn it. That’s the equivalent of hitting your head with a hammer... Newer research shows that the missing ingredient to many study routines is practice with retrieval.
If you’re killing yourself reading and writing up your notes, stop the madness. Practicing at what you’re actually going to do at the end—namely, taking a test—can be much more effective at making information sink in.
Written by a team of cognitive psychologists from Washington University, including two of [Make it Stick]’s authors, this 11-page guide offers teachers clear, step-by-step instructions for adding retrieval practice to their classroom instruction.
I can’t recommend enough asking students two questions [about retrieval practice]: What is it we’re doing right now, and why are we doing it? Because it’s powerful. Because it really works. And it helps bring the learning into the classroom. It ultimately saves us time and helps us have that deeper learning. I recommend changing the culture in our classrooms by asking these two questions.
To study for a big test, many students reread their books and notes. But even more effective would be to try to remember the material on their own. That’s retrieval practice. It is a kind of active learning that many students don’t make use of.
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Copyright © 2018 by Pooja K. Agarwal
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