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How Tests Make Us Smarter: Link, Discussion Guide, 3 Quizzes, Answer Key

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This is a study guide plus 3 quizzes and answer keys for the article that appeared in the "Ideas" section of the New York Times on Sunday, July 18, 2014.

"How Tests Make Us Smarter"

Note: the original article can be accessed at this Permalink: http://nyti.ms/1rnx6cC

This ideal to be used as a form of professional development. It can be conducted in about 1 hour, including the warm-up questions, discussion, "quiz #1" and wrap up.

This is an excellent (and very readable) article about the science of learning, as summarized by Henry Roetiger III, a professor of psychology at Washington University in St. Louis and a co-author of “Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning.” (BTW, to protest Amazon’s preposterous treatment of its authors, I will only link to stores which have a somewhat more ethical approach to selling books; you should too!)

This article would be excellent when used a part of a professional development session on the importance of assessment as a part of learning. This is much different than formative or summative assessment, as it shows that the act of quizzing itself helps improve retention of information; that is, low stakes, frequent quizzing can actually be a form of instruction that is more effective than “review.”
I’ve developed 3 quizzes that teachers could take after reading the article; one could be administered directly after teachers have read the article, while the second and third could be given in the days following the PD. Isn’t this a good example of modeling a strategy, so that teachers will incorporate it into their classrooms?
One of the things you’ll notice is that each quiz has a variety of question formats: a “multiple choice” for information retrieval (that is, it only requires recognizing a correct answer, rather than retrieving it randomly), a “fill in the blank,” as well as an “interpretive” question to restate what the author said, and then an “application” question that shows how this could be used in the classroom.

I hope you are able to use this with your staff (as well as your parents!) Yes, I know the article is a means for the author to push sales of a book, but the information is free and, as the author states, so is the cost of implementing this information.
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Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 hour
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