How to Create a Systematic Review Plan for Long Term Skill Retention

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Some children will learn material quickly and easily and retain the information for years without any systematic plan in place. Most children have the best long-term learning from quality instruction, practice, and periodic review. There is yet another group of children who can learn skills and information one day and soon forget the content learned if it is not systematically reviewed on a regular basis. This article covers 1) How to create a systematic review plan for mastered content and 2) How to evaluate how often to review mastered content.

Create a Systematic Review Plan

A systematic review plan can be beneficial for children who need regular or periodic review of material for long-term retention. This review plan can be used for reading skills, math skills, foreign language study, or really any content area that needs to remain in a child’s long-term memory.

CLICK HERE to download a free copy of systematic review planning sheet.

Step 1:

After a specific content item is mastered, add it to the review list. Mastery may be defined differently depending on the content and/or each individual child and their learning needs. Generally, a mastery level is selected somewhere between 80-100% accuracy.

Step 2:

Start by reviewing the content either daily or every other day. If the child’s accuracy decreases when you move to every other day, move back to daily review for another few days to a week.

Step 3:

Continue increasing the days or weeks between review as the child’s accuracy remains stable. If accuracy decreases, back up to a previous step and stay on that step for 1-2 weeks before moving forward again.

Sample Systematic Review Plan

The sample systematic review plan below is for Latin words. Latin words are listed in the left-hand column. The start date of a specific review frequency (i.e., daily, every other day, etc.) is written for each word. An “X” can be put in the box instead of the date, if desired.

Skill review sample data sheet filled in with latin words

These dates can also be entered on a monthly data sheet to help keep track of when each item listed should be reviewed. Here is a sample:Latin date of review sample

On the date the item is reviewed, you can enter information about the child’s accuracy. You can come up with your own coding system or use a + for correct and a – for incorrect.

CLICK HERE for a my article containing a PFD version of the Monthly Data Sheet.

How often should I review content?

This answer will likely vary with each individual child. The review frequency may even vary for the same child depending on the content area. Reviewing the data you have collected during your systematic review plan will help you fine tune your plan for an individual child. For example, you may be able to move from daily review to once per week while still maintaining accuracy. Let the child’s accuracy guide your decision on how frequently review is necessary for long term retention.

Summary of a Systematic Review Plan

A systematic review plan can help children have long term retention of mastered content. The necessary frequency of review to maximize retention may vary with each individual child and within the same child depending on the content. Some curriculums schedule review within their content. Instructors (parents or teachers) can maximize for long term retention of important content by implementing a systematic review for their child/student.

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