How to Increase the Value of Tests

  • Incorporating frequent quizzes into a class’s structure may promote student learning. These quizzes can consist of short-answer or multiple-choice questions and can be administered online or face-to-face. … Providing students the opportunity for retrieval practice—and, ideally, providing feedback for the responses—will increase learning of targeted as well as related material.

  • Providing “summary points” during a class encourages students to recall and articulate key elements of the class. Setting aside the last few minutes of a class to ask students to recall, articulate, and organize their memory of the content of the day’s class may provide significant benefits to their later memory of these topics. Whether this exercise is called a minute paper or the PUREMEM (pure memory, or practicing unassisted retrieval to enhance memory for essential material) approach, it may benefit student learning.

  • … Pretesting students’ knowledge of a subject may prime them for learning. By pretesting students before a unit or even a day of instruction, an instructor may help alert students both to the types of questions that they need to be able to answer and the key concepts and facts they need to be alert to during study and instruction.

  • Finally, instructors may be able to aid their students’ metacognitive abilities by sharing a synopsis of these observations. … Adding the potential benefits of pretesting may further empower students to take control of their own learning, such as by using example exams as primers for their learning rather than simply as pre-exam checks on their knowledge.

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