Swamps the new rainforest?
Swamps the new rainforest?

Swamps the new rainforest?

Classrooms are messy and complex, a veritable swamp of interactions. After the testing effect, retrieval practice here are four that we have been exploring at length with RememberMore: spacing, interleaving confidence, motivation and interleaving.

Spacingand interleaving (metacognition, confidence)

Most recently, working in Year 7 maths classrooms, Emeny, Hartwig & Rohrer (2021) reported that spaced practice produced higher test scores than did massed practice, and test score predictions were relatively accurate after spaced practice yet grossly overconfident after massed practice.

the key point is that teachers should shift their mindset so that the practice of a skill or concept is seen not as material that should be squeezed into one or two consecutive class meetings but rather as material that can be distributed across many lessons. Williams Emeny.

Read the full article here.

The study speculates that students who learn through massed practice, are likely overconfident after experiencing the success that comes with repeating a concept many times over in one session. That this success likely leads to a false sense of mastery where students believe they have sufficiently learned the material, failing to recognise that they are susceptible to forgetting this information over time.

Students who practice through spaced sessions were also far better at predicting their test scores (metacognition). Whether they made their predictions after the last practice session or immediately before the test, students in the spaced practice group were fairly accurate in their predictions while those in the massed practice group were overconfident in their abilities.

Confidence (metacognition)

Barenberg and Dutke (2019) study examined the potential of retrieval practise during learning to improve the accuracy of confidence judgements in future retrieval. In the final test, the proportion of correct answers and the proportion of confident answers were higher with retrieval practice than compared to the control condition. Moreover, the confidence judgements were more accurate and less biased. 

Barenberg and Dutke (2019) conclude:

The confidence judgments can stimulate the learners to reflect their understanding of learning topics and the quality of knowledge they acquired. This reflexion can help them to identify learning topics that need further clarification and help them to develop the accuracy of their confidence judgments. Moreover, the instructor also gains valuable insights into the learners’ comprehension and quality of knowledge. This information can help the instructor design (individualised) instructions that clarify learning topics and support the learners’ monitoring and self-regulation processes. In conclusion, the application of retrieval practise and the assessment of metacognitive performance in educational settings are encouraged by the present study and are recommended.”

Barenberg and Dutke (2019)

Now this is very important, and when you add to that, RememberMore will present those judgements, in effect, the learners’ comprehension and quality of knowledge, and that the individualised instruction is ever present, you can see why this study interested me.


As signposted in both the papers above, it is impossible to encounter metacognition when testing. However, the literature is complex and far more complicated than I realised. This week I read a useful outline for share the two modes of metacogition judgements and why they are important.

Judgments of Knowing, Learning, and Memory – Do I Know It. As most other metacognitive judgments, feelings of knowing have behavioural consequences and predict how much time and effort people will – or will not invest in a memory search (Dunlosky & Metcalfe, 2009; Koriat, 2007).

Judgments of Learning, Will I Remember It? Are moderately predictive of people’s actual performance, if this interesting I would recommend Dunlosky & Metcalfe, (2009).

RememberMore takes the positive metacognition benefits of each but what is most important is that RememberMore does not use a predictive, or postdictive question, but a statement.

RememberMore presents both cue and the response and asks “Did you know, it.” And that is the key difference. We trust the learner, adjusting for the cognitive biases that learners hold. We lower the stakes, we trust the learner and raise the agency. RememberMore is a learning app, a Successive Relearning app.

Success-Motivation-Success cycle (self-efficacy, learner agency)

I have discuss this observation a handful of times. There is a section on RememberMore.app that discusses. It is fundamental to how RememberMore is operationalised.

The impact of achievement on self-concept is greater than the impact of self-concept on achievement.

Daniel Muijus (c/o Caroline Spalding)

And I often partner that reference with

Lack of motivation is a logical response to repeated failure.

c/o caroline Spalding

The Pekrun et al., (2017) paper presents a reciprocal effects model linking emotion and achievement over time is proposed – what I have been referencing as Success-Motivation-Success cycle and why we introduced the Reorder button into Classroom. Re-reading the paper I highlighted

“…findings suggest that emotions indeed have an influence on adolescents’ achievement, over and above the effects of general cognitive ability and prior accomplishments.” Pekrun et al., (2017)

It is learner achievement, “success,” at whatever pace that may be, the drive me, that drives us, that drives the project. And there are plenty of students (and teachers) reporting that.

Forms response chart. Question title: Your opinion matters - three decisions!. Number of responses: .Occasionally, I have to remind myself, RememberMore was designed by our clients, students, and by teachers, That is why, RememberMore appears to be neck and neck with the research.


Discussing the Emeny (2021) paper this week, Dr Higham shared this wonderful simple note of interleaving. It is not merely the principle of interleaving your need to take into consideration but also your learning aim.

If your learning aim is to learn about the characters of Sherlock Holmes and of Dr Watson then you should block practice. If your learning aim is to understand the differences in their characters, then interleave.

I added the reference to The Hound of Baskervilles, Dr Higham used maths references.

What does that tell you Pru and Sarah? As for the title, “swamps the new rainforest” it is only because I have been building a Primary (Y1-6) Geography deck for Classroom. It should be ready for your feedback soon.

Should you want to roadtest RememberMore in your classroom: RememberMore for educators

Emeny, WG, Hartwig, MK, Rohrer, D. Spaced mathematics practice improves test scores and reduces overconfidence. Appl Cognit Psychol. 2021; 35: 1082– 1089. https://doi.org/10.1002/acp.3814

Barenberg, Jonathan & Dutke, Stephan. (2019). Testing and metacognition: retrieval practise effects on metacognitive monitoring in learning from text. Memory. 27. 269-279. 10.1080/09658211.2018.1506481.

Pekrun, Reinhard & Lichtenfeld, Stephanie & Marsh, Herb & Murayama, Kou & Goetz, Thomas. (2017). Achievement Emotions and Academic Performance: Longitudinal Models of Reciprocal Effects. Child Development. 88. 10.1111/cdev.12704.

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