Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Retrieval practice (e.g. tests) may help memorization...more than concept mapping.

Are tests just for assessing and feedback? In an experiment, students that did a memory retrieval practice (10-min free-writing on a text passage they had just read) did better on a test taken a week after, compared to students that did concept mapping, just read the passage, or repeatedly studied the passage (tot of 200 students in the study).

"When we use our memories by retrieving things, we change our access” to that information, Dr. Bjork (one of the study authors) said. “What we recall becomes more recallable in the future. In a sense you are practicing what you are going to need to do later”.

“More testing isn’t necessarily better,” said Dr. Linn, who said her work with California school districts had found that asking students to explain what they did in a science experiment rather than having them simply conduct the hands-on experiment — a version of retrieval practice testing — was beneficial. “Some tests are just not learning opportunities. We need a different kind of testing than we currently have.”

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