Photograph; Bebeto Matthews/AP Images
By Paul L. Thomas, Ed.D. | Originally Published at The Becoming Radical. January 22, 2014
Students Should Be Tested More, Not Less by Jessica Lahey is not a compelling case to test students more, but another example of journalism failing to represent accurately a relatively limited study related to education.
Several aspects of the article reveal that the title and apparent claim of the need for more testing are misleading:
Henry L. Roediger III, a cognitive psychologist at Washington University, studies how the brain stores, and later retrieves, memories. He compared the test results of students who used common study methods—such as re-reading material, highlighting, reviewing and writing notes, outlining material and attending study groups—with the results from students who were repeatedly tested on the same material. When he compared the results, Roediger found. “Taking a test on material can have a greater positive effect on future retention of that material than spending an equivalent amount of time restudying the material.” Remarkably, this remains true “even when performance on the test is far from perfect and no feedback is given on missed information.”
And to be fair, this is the actual abstract of the study discussed above:
A powerful way of improving one’s memory for material is to be tested on that material.Tests enhance later retention more than additional study of the material, even when tests are given without feedback [emphasis added]. This surprising phenomenon is called the