Greatly raising student achievement in American K-12 public schools is much easier than the American public realizes-and a lot of money can be saved in the process! Our public school districts are replete with academic administrators and school board members that know this is true, but have disincentives from making it happen. Many private schools and some public schools are already making it happen. President Reagan recognized John Saxon in the 1980's and his series of books that made it happen. A search of the internet can enlighten anyone wanting to know how this is possible. Though not necessary, merit pay for teachers and administrators would further restore America to educational leadership and economic power in the world.
The failures in our public schools are many and all of them are reflected in low student achievement But what if a "magic pill" for achievement along? And it has! But just as a dentist would be devastated by a "magic pill" that would prevent all cavities, special interests that depend on student failure for their careers to exist would be devastated by a "magic pill" for student achievement. This book will examine this "magic pill" PROCESS along with other positive enhancements to achievement and suggestions for reforming your local school district-the entity that all too often is guilty of Intentional Educational Malpractice that greatly diminishes student achievement and success.
In a nutshell, this PROCESS consists of a teacher teaching a lesson in the usual prescribed way and then systematically reinforcing what has been learned. This is done by the way of distributed practice and distributed instruction of the learning over an extended period of time. A 15 minute activity of Distributed Practie and Instruction 3-5 times a week is recommended for this process.
William Bennett, the U.S. Secretary of Education under Ronald Reagan, has also essentially described the concept of distributed practice, though he doesn't use the specific words "Distributed Practice". Bennett says, "Since each lesson builds on those that came before, students must retain a solid understanding of what was taught previously. Even as new operations and principles are being introduced, children spend time practicing old ones. Homework assignments may consist of three problems like those worked last week, three like the ones worked yesterday, and six more problems dealing with the concept the teacher introduced today." Finally, the Encyclopedia Britannica also contains a relevant entry on the concept:
"If there is one universal prescription for resisting forgetting, it would be to learn to a very high level initially; results seem even better when learning trials are not bunched together. Practice trials may be given en masse in a single session or the same number of trials may be distributed in sessions held on different days. The interrupted schedule is far superior to massed practice in that the rate of forgetting that follows distributed practice is much slower.
Other positive changes will be recommended, including school choice, teacher and administrator merit pay, national standards, and texts that should incorporate the PROCESS using Distributed Practice just as Saxon and Easy Math books do.
Other problems such as that with teachers and the failures of the media in advising the public about the many positive effects of using Distributed Practice will also be discussed.
Beyond achievement come many positive by-products such as increased student self-esteem, improved discipline, reduced teacher and student frustrations, less time spent by the teacher on planning, higher graduation rates and lower incarceration rates by young people without hope that turn to drugs and crime.
Definitely worth noting is that Distributed Practice is not just a concept used with math instruction. Instead, Distributed Practice accelerates achievement in all academic subjects and even in athletic practice.