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Blog Post #2

Assessment and Retrieval

By Steven Reid, Head of Senior School


There is a great deal of interest and excitement within education in relation to the advances made within cognitive science in recent years.  Through empirical data, we now understand that “70 to 90 percent of new learning is forgotten within 18 to 24 hours after the lesson”, Sousa (2017).  

During this academic year, the Repton, Malaysia teaching team has been working hard to develop strategies to help alleviate the impact of the ‘Forgetting Curve’.  

The Forgetting Curve

Through our internal CPD (continuing professional development) programme, our team has sought to understand the benefits of incorporating retrieval practice into every lesson and to assess the long term benefits to pupils’ outcomes.  Retrieval practice is essentially taking the opportunity to ask questions about previous learning.  This recalling of information helps to strengthen learning, making this information easier to recall in the future.  All lessons now begin with a retrieval practice activity within the Senior School.  This consistent approach to every lesson helps to ensure that our pupils have the greatest chance of achieving outstanding outcomes in the future.  The more our pupils put in the hard work of remembering, the easier this information is to recall in the future.

Another supportive tool to ensure that pupils are progressing is the use of regular assessment.  Again, there is substantial evidence to underpin the value of regularly assessing pupils.  This can take the form of a formal assessment or something as simple as a short quiz.  Quizzing has been identified as providing a great number of benefits to pupils, these include improved retention, enhanced performance on future learning, corrective feedback, and bolstered metacognition and study habits.

Within each subject area, it is vitally important to ensure that the teaching team use a variety of assessment strategies and opportunities to help ensure that accurate evidence is produced on the performance and progress being made by every pupil.  Within Senior School, assessment is frequent and this information is used to ensure that our pupils are aware of the next steps required within their learning journey.  It is incredibly important the pupils begin to take ownership of the progression, through regular written feedback, all pupils will receive an ‘Even Better If’ comment – this can be used to provide guidance on how to develop/improve the piece of work.  Our regular assessment also helps to ensure that we are able to communicate with parents on particular highlights and areas where intervention may be appropriate.  This is all part of the policy of developing effective partnerships with our parents and ensuring that Repton, Malaysia pupils’ make outstanding progress!