Learning is seldom a one-time event. If you’ve ever crammed for a big exam at the end of a semester, you may have had a sneaking suspicion that even if all that effort got you the grade you needed, the knowledge you gained would go in one metaphorical ear and out the other. It wouldn’t stick with you over the long term. If information can be retrieved and then forgotten that readily, does it even really count as knowledge?
We know from research and brain science that learning is an iterative process—which can point us to some different ways to think about assignments, tests, and grading to support deeper learning. In the September 2020 issue of Educational Leadership, McREL’s Bryan Goodwin and Kris Rouleau explain how using frequent quizzes can be more helpful than infrequent, make-or-break tests, because they help students identify knowledge gaps and exploit the brain’s urge to fill them in. In this short video, Bryan gives a few more insights about quizzing more and grading less.
In their Educational Leadership column, Bryan and Kris also discuss how relearning works to deepen knowledge, and from this they propose that teachers give students more second chances, allowing students to sometimes retake quizzes and exams and re-do assignments, as Bryan explains more in this short video.