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A Professional Development Program on Memory Retrieval Strategies for STEM Teachers

, , , , State University of New York College at Brockport, United States

JCMST Volume 40, Number 3, ISSN 0731-9258 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC USA

Abstract

We describe a professional development program to help students retrieve content they learned in class, retain it, and apply it in different contexts to solve novel problems using cognitive learning strategies. These strategies range from simple electronic flashcards for basic memory retrieval strategies to low-stakes quizzes for spaced-out and interleaved retrieval practices as well as computer simulations for generative (problem-solving) practices. We offered fall and spring training on: a) basic retrieval practices to 232 first-year teachers, b) interleaving retrieval strategies to 123 second-year teachers, and c) generative retrieval practices to 23 third-year teachers. Additional summer training and yearlong support were offered to 92 teachers who wanted to conduct Action Research. A mixed-methods approach was used to collect and analyze data. Majority of participants reported that they gained a greater understanding of memory retrieval and how relevant ideas can be implemented and tested in the classroom. A large number of target and control studies (n=42) show that students who learned math and science topics through interleaved retrieval practices consistently scored 5-30% better than those who learned it in the more traditional blocked practice. In many cases, the differences were statistically significant (p <0.05). Similar results were reported by a smaller cadre of teachers (n=12) for the generative retrieval practices who used computer simulations versus other control groups that only used text and illustrations.

Citation

Yasar, O., Veronesi, P., Maliekal, J. & Little, L. (2021). A Professional Development Program on Memory Retrieval Strategies for STEM Teachers. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 40(3), 265-298. Waynesville, NC USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved September 28, 2021 from .