Testing has long been assumed to only assess what students know without affecting their learning directly; however, a growing body of research has shown that testing can also have direct, positive effects on learning by enhancing the long-term knowledge retention. Knowledge retention during summer vacation remains critical in grades K-8, particularly in important transition skills like math and reading fluency.
The students in the study are equipped with ThinkPad T410 laptops to use in performing web-based exercises several times a week that both assess and provide students with feedback in math and reading fluency. Students earn points and weekly prizes by working hard to improve their speed and accuracy in math and reading.
“Providing the technology to power this ETS research supports Lenovo’s global education strategy: to improve learning outcomes and increase operational efficiency for schools,” said Michael Schmedlen, Director of Worldwide Education, Lenovo. “This crucial research will illuminate whether technological interventions can improve knowledge retention using new measures of student achievement. As learning becomes more digital, PCs won’t just enable teaching, learning, creativity and collaboration, but also provide valuable information to administrators, parents and researchers. We look forward to reviewing the results of this important research.”
Beginning this week, students in a summer enrichment program sponsored by Every Child Valued, a community based center in Lawrence Township, NJ, will take part in the five week study. ETS will examine whether a low-cost intervention, like frequent computer-based testing, helps kids retain the knowledge and skills they gained during the school year. The more knowledge students retain over the summer may mean that they can learn more quickly during the school year, and teachers can focus on covering new subjects without devoting precious class time to re-teaching previous topics. An effective low-cost intervention may also help to reduce achievement gaps in K-12 education.
“Students today are learning in technology-rich environments and computers offer an effective way to help students learn and to measure their progress year round, both in- and outside of traditional classroom settings,” says ETS Senior Research Scientist JoAnn Rock. “We appreciate Lenovo’s willingness to cooperate with this important research project by providing their ThinkPad laptops.”