• Testing to Enhance Learning Even Students May Enjoy!

      Gish, Dennis W.
      "What we resolve to do in school only makes sense when considered in broader context of what the society intends to accomplish through its educational investment in the young." Jerome Bruner, 1996 The tenets of teachers that are generally encoded as held truth is when "teachers teach, students learn". However, there still remains the constant reminder of exposure to students' poor performances on tests. Practice testing is one of the most well-established strategies for improving student learning. Researchers continue to provide a substantial body of evidence that students who "test" themselves repeatedly do have better learning experiences. However, despite the empirical evidence, tests still remain often maligned and underutilized by teachers. A couple of such methods of discovery where practice testing has gained exposure and acceptance in my classrooms are study guide tools referred to as the "WAGR", Written Assignment Guided Review and the "WYSK", What You Should Know. The WAGR allows teachers to rejoice in testing students in an assignment format without having to "re-invent the wheel"! In studying memory, Psychology teaches us there is real evidence that learning persists when students' three measures of retention (recall, recognition, and re-learning) are actively involved in their study habits. The WAGR is a collection of selected topics simply presented to students in a multi-choice, true/false, and fill-in-blank format. The WAGR can be adaptable and flexible according which specific memory retention test the teacher believes desirable for students at designated frequencies. The WAGR can also address another often failed memory test by students that of which is re-learning. In short, the WAGR provides students a study guide in a testing format adaptable to his/her own learning style. As a supplement to the WAGR, the WYSK can be as versatile. The WYSK is a traditional "bullet-type" listing of items students are expected to know as they prepare for the exam. The convention of WYSK requires and guides the student to research the material making notes in a short answer format that helps best to recall, recognize, or re-learn the material. The WYSK provides not only a focused study guide but can also be used as an assignment for teachers who believe in short answer responses as the best source of testing and applying students' understanding of the material.