I believe that frequent testing is an important part of student learning. I think that it has a multitude of benefits. However I don’t test summatively. In my opinion, the only summative test secondary students do is their GCSE exam.
This short post is about one benefit that I believe has an impact on students learning and it comes from allowing them to cheat.
This is one of my walls. It is covered with quotes from Christianity & Islam that can be applied in many ways in the current GCSE RS.
I have taught the quotes and we refer to them frequently. However, when students do a test in the classroom I don’t take them down or cover them up. I leave them there. They think I don’t see but I often catch them looking round to get a quote to link in with their point.
I believe that by allowing them to do this it is helping them in the long term because:
- They are so used to using these quotes in their work it becomes a habit
- It will help them to visualise them when not in the classroom
- By using them they can see what their work looks like with the quotes in it and how much this improves the quality of it
- Constant exposure to the quotes improves long term memorisation
Current year 11 have had tests elsewhere and I have some evidence of them using these in their work but I think that my year 10 in particular have realised they’re always there and use them more frequently in their work.
I’m not going to tell them I know what they’re doing when they turn to glance at the wall. I’m going to see how they do in their year 10 mocks that they sit in the hall and see how much of it has transferred and has stuck in their long term memory.