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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Frequent Testing Leads To Better Learning

Want your students to learn more? Give them frequent tests. According to recent research cited by the Financial Times:
...students understood and retained information more readily when subjected to frequent tests and quizzes while studying than students who simply read material over and over again.

"Our study indicates that testing can be used as a powerful means for improving learning, not just assessing it," said Prof Henry Roediger of the university's psychology department.

The results are published in the current issue of Psychological Science. According to Prof Roediger, students who relied on repeated study alone frequently developed a false sense of confidence about their mastery of the materials even while their grasp of important detail was sliding away. By comparison, students who were either tested repeatedly or tested themselves while revising scored dramatically higher marks.
In my introductory finance course, I give four tests (each covering about 3 chapters) AND a comprehensive final, 4-5 quizzes, and assign 5 problem sets. Now, when the students complain, I'll point them towards this piece.

HT: Joanne Jacobs

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