Tracking Spaced Practice in Nearpod

Shared by Jonathan White

For every activity you run in Nearpod, a record of student responses is saved for you to access later. Read below for some information on using Nearpod for spaced retrieval practice, and how the data collected from such practice can be useful. If you're about to say "tl;dr" (too long, didn't read) - skip to the last section to see the nitty gritty of finding the data, and then have a look for yourself.

What is it?

Retrieval Practice

As defined by the Learning Scientists, retrieval practice "...involves recreating something you’ve learned in the past from your memory, and thinking about it right now. In other words, a while after you’ve learned something by reading it in a book or hearing it in a class or from a teacher, you need to bring it to mind (or “retrieve” it). The word after is really important; you need to forget the information at least a little in order for retrieval to be effective!"

Explore further: Click here and here

Spaced Practice

Also known as "distributed practice" or "spaced repetition," this is a learning strategy wherein repeated practice is spread out over a longer period of time. The opposite is "massed practice," also known as the last-minute "cramming." Spaced practice has been demonstrated to be the more effective of the two, by some margin.

Explore further: Click here and here


Rosenshine's Principles

In his article "Principles of Instruction," Barak Rosenshine offers ten basic principles for successful teaching, based upon research in pedagogy and cognitive science. Here we consider, for example, #10 - "engage students in weekly and monthly review."

Explore further: Click here

Applied in Nearpod

Why is this useful?

One of the best uses for quizzing apps like Nearpod is for frequent, low-stakes assessment. By its very nature, low stakes assessment isn't likely to feature in your mark book, and you might not closely track student performance over time. However, this doesn't mean the data isn't potentially valuable, and isn't the only way in which Nearpod quizzing can be successfully employed.

As we've learned from research in cognitive science, retrieval practice benefits students in helping them to bring learned information to the front of the mind quickly (see above). As they practice retrieving a certain piece of information, it becomes easier to "find" among the archives of their memories. This is further supported by the idea of spacing the practice over time.

Spaced practice allows students "forgetting time" between iterations, but by coming back and repeating the quiz, research suggests that it will take learners longer to "forget" a piece of information after each iteration. (see above) Finally, Barak Rosenshine recommends in his Principles of Instruction (see above) that learners be engaged with regular (weekly, monthly) review of materials, which would again be well-supported by Nearpod's capabilities. This helps learners to build interconnections between their prior knowledge and new concepts they are being asked to learn, which in turn makes it easier both to integrate the new concept and to recall the earlier information.

How does this differ from formative assessment?

Providing students with a brief formative assessment at the start of the lesson to check their understanding of recently-covered material can help to support you as a responsive teacher (helping you determine when your class is ready to move on to new material, or when they need you to revisit last lesson before continuing), and support the girls as learners by keeping anyone from getting "left behind." In these quizzes you would typically ask say, 3-5 questions covering last lesson's material, possibly highlighting some popular misconceptions.

Using Nearpod to support spaced retrieval practice, on the other hand, might instead look a bit different. This type of quiz might be slightly longer (say, 5-10 questions), asking girls to recall information from a given unit covered in the past. The quiz would be re-administered at regular (gradually longer) intervals throughout the term or course, potentially outside of class time. The aim here is, rather than informing today's teaching, to help support and improve a pupil's ability to recall information rapidly as they will need to on an exam.

Where does the report data come in?

If you spot a student struggling, Nearpod gives you the opportunity to pull up her responses to your quizzes over the whole duration of the course. This can potentially help to highlight, for example, areas where she appears to be repeatedly struggling, or pre-requisite concepts that haven't sunk in and that she may find difficult to recall, thus challenging her ability to understand a subsequent topic.

Alright, how do I find these reports?

To see all reports from a particular quiz, click on the three dots that appear when you hover the mouse over that presentation in your Nearpod library (best done on a computer). To see all reports from all of your presentations, follow the same procedure and then hit the blue "View all Presentations" button near the top right. Reports include all the answers that girls have given, including drawings they've submitted and results from self-marking questions.