Edsyclopedia.org, Reading Fluency and Working Memory

Edsyclopedia.org, is a new wiki focused on improving educational systems from the RISE program.
TL;DR: Skip to the bottom and watch the 49 second video.

This is from the Foundational Skills page, on the importance of “Universal, early, conceptual and procedural mastery of foundational skills”, helpfully abbreviated to UECPMFS.

For student learning to be meaningful and practicable, it needs to develop to a certain level of mastery. Without such mastery, any new learning attained will not be sufficiently consolidated for a child (or adult) to use effectively and flexibly, whether as a basis for more advanced learning or for responding to one’s environment in daily life.

To illustrate, if a teacher asks a student to complete a learning task for which they lack sufficient prior knowledge, then either:

– They will fail to complete the task;

– They will complete the task superficially, but will remember the new content inaccurately because they lack the prior knowledge needed to construct accurate mental representations of the new content; or

– They will complete the task superficially, but will not remember any of the new content because their working memory was fully occupied with strategies for completing the task, leaving no room for thinking about the meaning of the new content.

Learning assessments have to define levels of mastery as adequate thresholds, and develop metrics to capture whether skills were acquired and mastered, both conceptually and procedurally.

This video [below] illustrates the importance of mastering foundational literacy. If you cannot read fluently, the limits of human working memory are such that by the time you get to the end of a sentence, you will likely have forgotten the beginning of the sentence—which hampers comprehension and other more complex competencies.

Edcyclopedia.org – Foundational Skills

This highlights a huge need… and also illustrates that we shouldn’t regard the average educational standard of OECD countries as an aspirational endpoint!

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...