One scientific insight for curriculum design

Pragmatic Education

I’ve made the case before that our curriculum and assessment isn’t designed with memory in mind. Here’s what I spoke about at ResearchEd York: what we can do to improve how much our pupils remember of what they’ve learned.

There’s a mismatch between what science suggests and what schools do on this.

A century of scientific study converges on a key insight for our design of curriculum and assessment: an insight that can be put work immediately, widely, at no cost, and to great effect.

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In the scientific literature there are hundreds (if not thousands!) of studies on this, some from as early as 1907, and the research in the last decade is particularly prolific:

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In 2013, five cognitive scientists (Dunlosky, Rawson, Marsh, Nathan, Willingham 2013) collated hundreds such studies and showed that practice testing has a higher utility for retention and learning than other techniques:

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