top of page

Retrieval Practice

Retrieval Practice & Our Work with the IEE

We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded a grant from the Institute for Effective Education (IEE) for our research into retrieval practice. The IEE are committed to ‘sharing knowledge with, and between, people working in education policy and practice… also building support for evidence-based education.’

At Old Hill, we firmly believe in using research and evidence to inform our practice so that we can make informed decisions on how we teach in order for pupils here to achieve the best they possibly can. One of our more recent practices is using ‘retrieval practice’ to help make the things we teach children stick in their memory, so that they are not forgotten.

November 2018 Update

In the late 19th century, German psychologist, Hermann Ebbinghaus tested his memory over various periods of time.


Once he’d gathered all his data, he plotted it on a graph that looked a little something like this.

The graph illustrates that when you first learn something, you forget most of the information within the first couple of days. Obviously for teachers, we need to find ways of preventing this forgetting

Mr Badger and I have spent many hours researching cognitive science (and how we remember things) and consequent studies in schools. And one of the most promising techniques for remembering is retrieval practice.

What on Earth is retrieval practice?

Basically, it is the practice of bringing information to mind. Or having to remember stuff that may have been taught last week, month, year etc. There are few ways this is done, one of which involves our study: multiple choice quizzing.

By teaching and then testing children (in the form of a quiz), we get our children to remember information before they forget what they have been taught! What’s great is that the children LOVE it! And they LOVE remembering the answers even if they didn’t know the correct one the first time round. Mr Badger always says: think about how YOU feel knowing the answer to a pub quiz question or a television game show. It’s a great feeling! And the children feel it, too!  Just watch the short video clip below...

Mr Westby, Deputy Headteacher

We are extremely proud to share the completed report, detailing the outcomes of our trial.

Main Finding: 

"Pupils who practise multiple-choice quizzing not only perform better in a one-week delayed test than their peers, but perform considerably better after 12 weeks, thus demonstrating a greater retention of learning when retrieval practice is employed in lessons."

What does this mean?

Well firstly, what we are doing here at OHPS is justified & supported by evidence. That we will continue to regularly quiz children about content that they have been taught so that they remember better. That by giving children opportunities to think hard about what they have learnt say, a week ago (as we never quiz about what has just been taught), it will strengthen their memory. 

Click here to read the report in full.

retrieval practice report.PNG
bottom of page