Evidence-Based Instruction: Quizzing (“Rehearsal”) as A Learning Tool


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Typically, instructors use quizzes and tests as an assessment tool. However, research shows that quizzing can be a valuable tool to enhance learning itself. As summarized in this 2010 review article:

“[R]ecent studies … have shown that a combination of study and tests is more effective than spending the same amount of time reviewing the material in some other way, such as rereading it .”  

Yet, surveys of college students show that most study almost entirely by rereading, “with self-testing relatively rarely employed.”  Additional research findings are that testing also slows the rate of forgetting.  The article notes that these testing effects have been observed “in a variety of learning environments, including self-paced study outside the classroom, instructor-paced instruction, and multimedia learning.” (citations omitted)

Based on this research, you may consider incorporating simple, ungraded quizzes in your teaching to assist students in learning and retaining key facts and concepts. (This guide to using the Quiz tool in ECLearn may help.)  You could also explain to your students the potential benefits of self-quizzing (such as with flashcards) in order to enhance their learning and to make the best possible use of their study time.


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