As Publishing Director for Letts Educational, for over 5 years, I spent a huge amount of time trying to work out what exactly it was that helped students perform best in their GCSEs. As a company we investigated different revision and test preparation techniques including cramming, mind mapping and question-spotting. Intuitively, however, we all believed that practising questions (short answer or longer, exam-style questions) was the key to exam success.
Now, a study from a psychologist at Purdue University has come out and said very clearly that, “It is important to make retrieval practice an integral part of learning’. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110121111216.htm
This is great news for revision and test preparation companies (less so for mind-mappers if you read the detail) and hopefully will give students a bit of ‘science’ to help them get their grades in August.
It also works for zondle because that is exactly what we do! We have a whole load of questions, created by teachers and students that can be played in games to support revision and learning.
As the UK government moves towards a knowledge-based curriculum and away from students focusing on skills, retrieval practice is an essential skill that will ensure all that knowledge stays in place. I know that this will be the case in most schools already but would it hurt to suggest it as an entitlement for all students?