Effective Revision Strategies: an afternoon of research evidence and impact

4 December 2018

Author: Karen Roskilly - Sandringham Research School Lead

This afternoon we were delighted to welcome delegates to Sandringham Research School to explore the research evidence on effective revision and to consider how best to use these effectively at school.

We started by looking at a Sandringham firm favourite – Strengthening the Student Toolbox (2013) by Dunlosky – which provides a very clear overview of the most and least effective techniques students can use when revising. Using resources from the Learning Scientists, we were then able to look at four of the strategies identified by Dunlosky in more detail. These strategies were:

1. Practice testing (Very Effective)
2. Distributed practice (Very Effective)
3. Interleaving (Promising)
4. Elaborated interrogation (Promising)

Discussion about each of the techniques was supported by a range of other resources. This video from Niki Kaiser at Notre Dame Research School provided a clear introduction to memory and how best to support students with retaining information this in the classroom. It contains a number of practical strategies that we can use in our classrooms to support this process.

Another useful resource referred to was Damian Benney’s work on distributed practice. This raised a number of questions, particularly around the optimum period of time for spacing and the practical way in which he had organised his teaching to include this. More detail about this can be found in his blog here.

A few other useful resources were referred to during the session, including the Science of Learning by the Deans for Impact and Roediger and Pyc’s (2012) article ‘Inexpensive techniques to improve education: Applying cognitive psychology enhance educational practice’ which considers retrieval practice, elaborative interrogation and distributed practice.

We also shared the work that we have done here at Sandringham School on how best to effectively revise. This culminated in the development of the Sandringham Memory Clock, which summarises the most effective way for students to structure an hours revision time. In short, it involves dividing your hour into time to review, practise and then check. Delegates then had the opportunity to put some of the strategies referred to into practice by creating some flash cards about the different parts of the memory clock and using these to test each other!

More detail about the Sandringham Memory Clock can be found here.

Posted on 4 December 2018
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