Ten Benefits of Testing

December 23, 2019

Article: Ten Benefits of Testing and Their Applications to Educational Practice

Author: Henry L. Roediger III, Adam L. Putnam and Megan A. Smith


This article explores 10 benefits of testing on the educational outcomes of students, based on research mainly in cognitive science. Each of the benefits is discussed, with many references to quoted studies to follow up with. It also explores the limitations of the benefits, especially those which have not been thoroughly tested within an educational setting, and are currently lab based results.


The two main things I took from reading this article were:

  1. There are many hidden benefits to 'testing' students, and getting them to test themselves;

  2. I want to run a small scale experiment in school to see how they work, and help students see the benefits.


A pdf of the visual summary below can be found here.


It is worth a read to see the hidden benefits of testing, and with each benefit described in about 2 sides, it is not a long read. It is also possible to jump into the ones your are interested in, rather than reading the whole thing.


The one that was of most interest to me was the fifth: Testing Improves Transfer of Knowledge.  The experiment described had students study or test themselves on different types of birds, and those who tested themselves were better able to identify the type of bird for a new, previously unseen example. That is, they were better able to transfer their knowledge of what makes a particular bird fit into a category to new examples of birds, relative to those who just studied the examples.


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