Friday, March 10, 2006

We Need MORE Testing, Not Less

Psychologists at Washington University in St. Louis have discovered

that 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.

So for those who whine that "testing isn't learning", maybe they're wrong after all.

My counselor when I was in high school was a former math teacher. After I became a math teacher he and my old principal, also a former math teacher, took me to breakfast. They asked how often I gave quizzes and didn't like my answer. Gotta quiz every week, they said, if not more than that. Since that day I've assessed student learning with either a quiz or a test each week. Now it seems there's some scientific validity to what those two men learned through experience--and passed on to me.

Maybe NCLB should mandate more tests per year! (said merely to tweak my anti-NCLB readers!)

1 comment:

Lillian said...

Oh, no way am I anti-NCLB. I totally agree that we don't do ENOUGH testing, especially in preparing for the annual Standardized Tests (SAT9 or SCT or CAT6). I test/quiz about three to four times a week. Even if it's just four to ten test items, I find the need to tweak and re-tweak and fine tune and do surgery (as I refer to it)to identify where 'it hurts'.
The students love it (NOW they do), because they actually improve and learn the concepts. They can see the progress and feel confident about moving on.
Most of the time I give the same test over and over - with no changes. There are always students who it takes several attempts - over and over - to pass the very same test.
But isn't that pretty much what we do with some of the tests we face throughout our lives? We go through it over and over, until we pass.