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Affirmative Testing Blog: A Culture of Continual Feedback

In general, I’m skeptical of generational arguments in education: that common line of reasoning that goes, “Millennials [or Generation Y or digital natives or . . . ] have grown up doing X, so we in education need to do X, too, to maintain their attention and engagement.” If X isn’t supported by research on how people actually learn, then
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Affirmative Testing Blog: The Importance of Re-Learning

My very favorite cognitive scientist, Dan Willingham of the University of Virginia, has written a wonderful article in The Atlantic about what we remember, what we forget, and why. There’s lots of interesting stuff here, and I recommend reading the whole article, but I (of course) seized on the part that relates to my current crusade for affirmative testing (that
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Affirmative Testing Blog: Marsha Lovett and “Deliberate Instruction”

By now, you may have heard of “deliberate practice.” In his book Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell popularized the research of psychologist K. Anders Ericsson, who proposes that 10,000 hours of deliberate practice are necessary to achieve expertise in any field. By deliberate practice, Ericsson doesn’t mean merely noodling around—he means an intensive process of focusing relentlessly on identifying and remediating
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The Affirmative Testing Manifesto

Testing should exist, first and foremost, to serve students. Testing should enhance student memory by incorporating the principles of retrieval practice, interleaved study, and distributed practice. Testing should promote student learning by providing detailed and timely feedback on what students got right or wrong and why it was right or wrong. Testing should support deep learning, not rote memorization, by
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Affirmative Testing: The Article

(Note: A version of this article was first published in Scientific American, under the title “A New Vision for Testing.”) Who was the first American to orbit Earth? A) Neil Armstrong B) Yuri Gagarin C) John Glenn D) Nikita Khrushchev In schools across the U.S., multiple-choice questions such as this one provoke anxiety, even dread. Their appearance means it’s testing
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List of Researchers for Turn Testing Into Learning E-Course/BETA VERSION

Note to Brilliant readers: This list is meant to accompany the description of Turn Testing Into Learning e-course, here. The course’s coverage of Pretests draws on research by Lindsey Richland of the University of Chicago and Nate Kornell of Williams College. The course’s coverage of Micro-Tests draws on research by Karl Szpunar of the University of Illinois-Chicago and Daniel Schacter
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Turn Testing Into Learning E-Course/BETA VERSION

Note to Brilliant readers: I am trying something new! After writing a magazine article, I often feel that there’s so much more information I have left to share with my readers—often of the very practical, how-to sort that doesn’t make it into a magazine feature. I felt that way recently after writing an article for Scientific American about making testing
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When Kids Engage In “Making,” Are They Learning Anything?

 A note to Brilliant readers: The following essay appears in the May issue of School Library Journal. The issue is devoted to making and maker spaces, and includes many interesting articles on the subject—I encourage you to check it out. My own contribution looks at how librarians, teachers, and parents can make sure that kids are learning while they make
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Stupid Things People Do . . . And How Not To Do Them Yourself

Are you feeling tired today? Who isn’t? But common as it is, fatigue can become a serious professional liability, as an airline baggage handler discovered in dramatic fashion last week. Case Study No. 2 Who it is: A baggage handler for Alaska Airlines (his name has not been disclosed). What he did: While loading suitcases on an Alaska Airlines jet,
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Stupid Things People Do . . . And How Not To Do Them Yourself

What leads us to say the wrong thing at the wrong time? We’ve all done it — and then, mortified, wondered why we didn’t keep our mouths shut. A high-profile example from this past week provides an object lesson for all of us in the origin of such lapses. Case Study No. 1 Who it is: Andrew Harrison, University of
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