Testing Techniques of Merit

This handful of assessment techniques can improve learning in the classroom or as students study on their own.

» FREQUENT LOW-STAKES QUIZZING IN THE CLASSROOM. This is the single-most useful tool teachers can use to help students lock in learning and carry it forward. Including questions from prior weeks helps knit older material to newer material and build complex mastery.

» ASK, DON’T JUST TELL. Rather than lecturing the whole class, engage students in exercises that help them puzzle out new material and put it into their own words. Of course, teachers do need to explain complex material, but arousing curiosity first helps.

» WRITE-TO-LEARN EXERCISES. These serve as a form of elaboration on new material.

» THINK-PAIR-SHARE EXERCISES. Students collaborate to construct their own understanding of new material, supported with corrective feedback.

» SELF-QUIZZING. Coaching students to make and practice flashcards (shuffling the cards between retrieval attempts) or creating their own questions while reading text material and using the questions to study later. Students also can answer chapter questions included in a textbook and then check the answers and correct errors.