To overtly provide our students with factual knowledge which is regularly drilled and tested until it is deeply embedded in their long term memory.
Providing knowledge is an avenue of opportunity for disadvantaged children and combating education inequality.
E.D, Hirsch, an American advocate of a knowledge-led curriculum, notes:
“Breadth of knowledge is the single factor within human control that contributes most to academic achievement and general cognitive competence. Breadth of knowledge is a far greater factor in achievement than socioeconomic status. The positive correlation between academic ability and socioeconomic status is only half the correlation between academic ability and the possession of general information. That is to say, being ‘smart’ is more dependent on possessing general knowledge than on family background. Imparting broad knowledge to all children is the single most effective way to narrow the gap between demographic groups through schooling.”
Departments reflect on their curriculum and meticulously specify every concept that pupils will need to master each year. Departments provide a termly (or as per Progress Period) Knowledge Organiser to their students. Students use these Knowledge Organiser to do frequent revision. Teachers test students’ knowledge of all these facts frequently and re-visit knowledge from previous terms.
Humans naturally forget if we do not frequently use or revisit; testing interrupts the problem of forgetting.
- improves long-term retention
- identifies gaps in knowledge
- improves transfer of knowledge to new contexts
- provides feedback to teachers
- encourages students to study
- builds student confidence – if they learn it, they can potentially get full marks in a test