Friday @ the Center
January 28, 2011
Reading Scripture in a Divided Church
The School of Theology and the Theology Student Union invite you to attend a lecture titled “Reading Scripture in a Divided Church” by Dr. Stephen Fowl, Professor of Theology at Loyola College Maryland, Wednesday, February 2, 2011, 12:30 - 1:20 p.m. in Demaray Hall 150. Professor Fowl’s writing and scholarship have focused on the importance of Christian communities in reading Scripture together. Professor Fowl’s lecture is certain to resonate with our campus’ desire to strengthen Biblical Literacy.
Deadlines for Internal Grant Proposals
Faculty Research Grants and Senior Research Grants are due February 1st.
The Center for Biblical and Theological Education has funding available for research and curricular development related to Biblical and Theological education and integrative research. Applications are due Feb. 15th. See our website for instructions and application.
The SPU Spiritual and Educational Resources for Vocational Exploration (SERVE) Program supports faculty and staff exploration of the theological aspects and implications of Christian vocation. Applications are due March 1st.
If You Want to Improve Student Learning...
test them on the material. Yes, seriously. While we tend to think of testing only in term of assessing student learning, students also learn material better when they are tested on it. Jeffrey Karpike at St. Louis University, has been engaging in a program of research over the past decade demonstrating that “tests enhance later retention more than additional study of the material, even when tests are given without feedback.” While knowledge retention is only part of learning, it is often at the root of more complex learning.
One way to increase student learning prior to midterms is to encourage them to quiz themselves as they read through material or complete practice tests. They can use this informal testing to guide their studying and give themselves feedback to make sure that they are understanding what they are reading. However, this self testing does more than just provide structure to student studying. Testing itself increases student learning. Having to retrieve information from memory changes the mnemonic representation underlying retrieval and enhances later representation of the tested information. In other words, having to retrieve information from memory makes it easier to retain that information for the longer term. This effect has been shown with free recall, short answer and multiple choice tests (short answer leads to best retention while learning is not enhanced with open-book testing). Additionally, quizzing, especially short-answer quizzes throughout courses, led to better performance on finals. The use of testing to promote learning is also powerful when the testing is used for formative assessment -- assessment for learning in contrast to assessment of learning. I will have more to say about formative assessment next week.
This and other topics around assessment and evaluation will be covered in Teaching Essentials II which is offered Saturday, February 12th, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. There are still some slots open. Contact Anna Miller if you would like to attend.
Thanks to Baine Craft who pointed me to this research. If you come across interesting research on student learning, teaching, assessment, professional development, etc. please pass them my way.
Here is a link to a short piece in the New York Times on the “learning effect.” If you would like to read a more academic piece on their work see:
Roediger, H., & Karpicke, J. (2006). The Power of Testing Memory: Basic Research and Implications for Educational Practice. Perspectives on Psychological Science. 1(3), 181-210.
Margaret Diddams, Ph.D.