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How Learning and Cognitive Science Can Improve Student Outcomes

June 26, 2013
By Art Graesser, University of Memphis Gina Rodriguez, George W. Bush Institute Sarah J. Brasiel, Edvance Research, Inc.
When facts clash with students’ knowledge or beliefs, they want to know how and why and to receive explanations. It is good to challenge students with counterintuitive facts, particularly when they illustrate important material.

There are research-based principles and practices from the learning and cognitive sciences that can be applied to all content areas in middle grades education to improve student outcomes. Even teachers of courses like Physical Education can consider these strategies for assisting students in remembering rules of sports, different sports strategies, etc. More importantly, these principles and practices can provide study skills for students to prepare them for the increased rigor of high school coursework, where they may experience final exams for the first time. Therefore, the more these principles and practices can become adopted and implemented school-wide, the more proficient students will become in their use. This will enable middle grade students to have the skills they need not only for high school success, but also for success in postsecondary education and/or future careers.