Retrieval practice in a primary classroom

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To help our pupils learn, we need to consider an important question: how can we ensure that information is transferred to long-term memory and stays there? A number of experiments following Hermann Ebbinghaus’ study on memory and forgetting in the late 19th century have found that new learning is very quickly forgotten. Therefore, a central challenge to improving the way we learn is in finding a way to interrupt the process of forgetting.  Retrieval describes the process of bringing something to the front of your mind, from your long-term memory into your working memory for active processing. Imagine racking your brain, trying to remember the answer to a question that you are sure you know. It is this process of thinking hard to try and recall information that strengthens memory and learning. In the classroom, retrieval practice most commonly takes the form of low-stakes testing as a way to review previously learned material. If we do this regularly, we can effectively interrupt th

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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. A
    Abul Kalam Aziz

    a great example of this retrieval practice used in the classroom. A good form of assessment too, assessment is not just for the sake of assessment but consolidating information as a learning process.

  2. A
    Angela Murphy

    Brings a few key themes together nicely and makes a clear link between ‘learning’ and assessment – and how the two should work together to support retrieval.

  3. M
    Mrs Sally Ann Wilcher

    Great use of IT to support the assessment in a fun and accessible way,
    Really useful to see the impact of retrieval practices to reinforce learning and retention over a period of time

  4. D
    Diana Fabin Chandersy

    Excellent way to connect learning and assessment.

  5. V
    Victoria Price

    Excellent communication with the children about the purpose of retrieval practice, which can support development of learners’ meta cognition.

  6. P
    Paul Martin

    I like how simple the practice can be. The science proves the worth of testing for memory and consolidation. However, it still raises questions for me around whether the single final test should be used as a form of assessment.

  7. L
    Lydia Marsh

    I thought the use of IT for retrieval practice was a really effective method because it allowed the teacher to provide instant feedback for pupils and address misconceptions

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