I want to thank the Active Learning in Political Science blog for their post that highlighted a recently published study about using testing as a method of learning. The article, published in the journal Science, explains that students who read a passage and then responded to test questions asking them to recall what they had read, retained the information better than students who used other study methods. Somehow, the act of retrieving the content actually made it easier for students to recall the information a week later. Like, 50% better. (If you don't have access to Science, the NY Times has a great summary.)
This research reminded me of the Get the Gist questions we developed for our webtext, Central ideas in American Government. The questions appear at the bottom of each page of content, allowing students to test their recall of the information they just read. And because the questions are online, students get immediate feedback and can even reset the questions if they want to try again. You can use this test drive to see how it works. If you'd like to try using Central Ideas with your students this summer or fall, you can set up a course or contact us and we'll do it for you.