Redefining revision as continual practice

Step 1

Retrieval practice homework

Retrieval practice makes for the best homework because it reinforces what students have learned, helping to beat the forgetting curve. The secret to effective homework is making it simple enough so that students can do it, and want to do it, but also making it worthwhile.

fits all homework timetables

no need for parents to help

suitable for all students

worthwhile activity

no marking for the teacher

fits all homework


no need for

parents to help

suitable for

all students



no marking

for the teacher

No more setting pointless activities and spending evenings, weekends and holidays marking homework.

Homework marking


1. Consistency

Choose a lesson each week in which you will set and follow-up regular weekly homework. For two-week timetables, do this on a fortnightly basis or whenever your homework timetable allows.

2. Topics

Set the topic filters for the class to "teacher controlled" and include all the topics taught in the past, not the one you are teaching now.

3. Activity

Instruct students to use Quiz mode for their homework and attempt a minimum of 35 questions each week.

There is nothing more for the teacher to set up.

4. Monitor

Students can monitor their progress using their Smart Quiz Usage report.

In the assigned weekly lesson, teachers can check progress using the Smart Quiz usage report too.

5. Follow-up

Use rewards and sanctions as appropriate. Students who do not meet their target of 35 questions could do this while detained. Maintaining high standards and expectations is the key to success.

Why use Smart Revise

If used regularly, students will remember more of what they have learned.

Smart Revise will automatically space, interleave and personalise questions for each student with a focus on weaker knowledge. Although content from new topics is always prioritised first, each student will get a differentiated experience.

Every Quiz question has a "mastery bar" indicating how many times the question has been answered correctly. Even mastered questions are shown to the students again. No question is ever complete, they just have different priorities.

Questions are not AI generated, they are written by experienced teachers and examiners. This means that you can be sure they exactly match the specification; and the possible answers can be diagnostic.

Big data collected automatically over time is better than analysing one-off quizzes because reports with lots of data are more accurate.

The research says that:

  • Students forget what they have been taught gradually over time if they do not regularly revisit what they have previously learned.
  • Beating the forgetting curve during the course is more successful than cramming revision at the end of the course.
  • Facts need to be recalled not immediately, but as they begin to wane from memory. This is known as spaced practice.

Murre, J., Dros, J. (2015) Replication and Analysis of Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve.

  • Homework has a +0.64 effect size for secondary school age students.
  • Short, frequent homework closely monitored by teachers has the most impact.
  • 5-10 minutes spent practicing what has been taught has the same effect as 1-2 hours of work.
  • Rote learning, practice, or rehearsal of subject matter activities have the most impact.
  • Task-orientated homework has a higher effect than deep learning and problem solving.
  • Open-ended and unstructured tasks have the lowest effect.

Hattie, J. (2008) Visible Learning: A Synthesis of over 800 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement. New York. Routledge.

Top tips

Top tips

You can demonstrate Quiz to students by switching to Student mode.

Unlock new topics as they are taught so that students have access to new questions.

Don't unselect previous topics that have been taught, maximising the benefits of automatic spacing and interleaving.

Tell students that they will sometimes see questions they have seen before to encourage mastery.

Remind students they can complete Quiz homework on their Smartphone.

You could set a Task using only Quiz questions instead, but that will not personalise the questions to each student.