Is memorisation a good strategy?

Posted on March 31, 2016


“PISA finds that 15-year-olds commonly use memorisation to learn mathematics. But if you think memorisation is most widely used in the East Asian countries that share a Confucian heritage and are “known” for rote learning, think again. Fewer 15-year-olds in Hong Kong-China, Japan, Korea, Macao-China, Shanghai-China, Chinese Taipei and Viet Nam reported that they use memorisation as a learning strategy than did 15-year-olds in some of the English-speaking countries to whom they are often compared. For instance, 5% of students in Viet Nam, 12% of students in Japan and 17% of students in Korea reported that they learn as much as they can by heart when they study for a mathematics test.

By contrast, 26% of students in Canada, 28% in Ireland, 29% in the United States, 35% in Australia and New Zealand, and 37% in the United Kingdom reported that they mostly memorise to prepare for a mathematics test. Students in Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and Uruguay reported the most frequent use of memorisation strategies, while those in Macao-China, the Russian Federation, Serbia and the Slovak Republic reported the least frequent use.”

Oh, and girls are more likely to (report that you) memorize and if you’ve got a good attitude and low anxiety you’re less likely to (report that you ) memorize.

The chart… I don’t have the skills to comprehend.   “Student characteristics and teacher practices associated with students’ use of memorisation strategies” — I *guess* the stuff on the x axis is the “characteristics.” I *think* it’s saying that in the U.S., the correlation between anxiety and memorizing is lower, tho’ it’s a positive one for the average.

At any rate, the author(s) conclude that memorization is useful but if you really want to be at the top, you need to have deeper knowledge.   Surprise!