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Leveraging homework for effective learning: Exploring the benefits of spaced and interleaved practice

Written by: Andrew Jones
7 min read
ANDREW B. JONES, ASSISTANT HEADTEACHER, THE REACH FREE SCHOOL, UK; PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT LEAD, THE WATFORD PARTNERSHIP FOR TEACHER TRAINING, UK  Over the past decade, researchers have gained a better understanding of spaced and interleaved practice as effective strategies for enhancing retention and retrieval performance (Bjork and Bjork, 2019; Brunmair and Richter, 2019; Donoghue and Hattie, 2021). Spaced practice involves distributing learning sessions over time, improving long-term retention, while interleaved practice mixes different topics or problems, enhancing comparison and contrast. However, the concept of mixing syllabuses in an interleaved manner rather than teaching them in sequential blocks poses challenges, especially considering the need for pupils to master foundational knowledge before progressing to more complex material. Additionally, the practical and contextual constraints of the National Curriculum, GCSE and A-level syllabuses, which are predominantly desi

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