Phi Beta Cons

Taking Tests Actually Enhances Learning

In current debates over educational policy, we often hear that schools spend too much time training students to pass assessment tests, rather than actually teaching them meaningful material. But a new study suggests that the act of taking a test may itself be critical to learning. Results of the study suggest that the process of recalling material (as one must do in an exam) is more effective than repetition as a learning strategy.

In other words, taking a test is not simply a means of assessing what a student has learned, it also helps him retain what he has learned.

Here’s an ironic possibility: No Child Left Behind boosters, in their effort to foster accountability through increased standardized testing, may have unwittingly stumbled on a strategy that actually enhances students’ learning at the same time.

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Law & the Courts

It’s a Set-up

In my column yesterday, I contended that the unverifiable sexual-assault allegation against Judge Brett Kavanaugh bore “all the hallmarks of a set-up.” I based that assessment on the patently flimsy evidence, coupled with Senate Democrats’ duplicitous abuse of the confirmation-hearing process. To repeat ... Read More
Law & the Courts

Censure Dianne Feinstein

Regardless of the fate of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination, the Senate should censure the ranking Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee, Dianne Feinstein. Her deception and maneuvering, condemned across the political spectrum, seriously interfered with the Senate’s performance of its constitutional duty to ... Read More
U.S.

Are We on the Verge of Civil War?

Americans keep dividing into two hostile camps. It seems the country is back to 1860 on the eve of the Civil War, rather than in 2018, during the greatest age of affluence, leisure, and freedom in the history of civilization. The ancient historian Thucydides called the civil discord that tore apart the ... Read More