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St Thomas Aquinas

Year 6 Transition

Culture of Revision & Memory

Our thinking at Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic School has been carefully crafted by using research into learning. 

We have used current thinking on memory to develop our use of Knowledge Organisers.  All students carry a Knowledge Organiser and are tasked with committing the information within it to their long-term memory by using tried and tested techniques. 

Some recent thinking on retrieval practice said this: “Retrieval practice, or reconstructing knowledge by bringing it to mind from your memory, has been shown by numerous researchers to improve student learning (see (Roediger et al., 2011)).  Practising retrieval improves learning compared to rereading information (Roediger and Karpicke, 2006). Retrieval practice can also improve learning compared to other study strategies thought to be beneficial, such as creating a concept map while reading (Karpicke and Blunt, 2011).

Promoting retrieval practice in the classroom can simply involve giving students frequent tests or quizzes. In fact, the retrieval practice phenomenon was called the testing effect for much of the last century, but now is more commonly called retrieval practice because one can promote retrieval with activities other than tests or quizzes (for example, (Karpicke, Blunt, et al., 2014)). Importantly, retrieval practice can help with both fact-based learning and meaningful learning and transfer ((Butler, 2010); (Carpenter, 2012); (Jensen et al., 2014); (Smith et al., 2016)). Thus, retrieval practice is of significant value in educational settings, and research in live classrooms confirms that utilising retrieval practice improves student learning in multiple contexts. For example, a retrieval practice benefit has been shown for adult learners in college classrooms (for example, (Mayer et al., 2009)) as well as for primary school classrooms with middle-school students (McDermott et al., 2014), among others.” (Sumeracki and Weinstein 2018).

Our teachers use this thinking in all their lessons and we use the sheet “Learning at Aquinas” to help provide clarity on how we think about learning.