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Thursday 20 October: 4:30pm - 6:30pm

Downing College, Howard Building, Regent Street, CB2 1DQ

We are now fully booked for this event, but you can watch a live stream of Dr Abadzi's seminar from 16.30 on Facebook Live: @cambridgeassessment and on Periscope from Twitter: @Cam_Assessment.

How is learning limited by working memory? Helen Abadzi examines links between education theory, empirical cognition work, memory and brain physiology to explore implications for teaching and learning.

Recent discussion in England about the link between educational theory and empirical work on cognition, memory and brain physiology has been mired in controversy and inconclusive disputes between different fields and camps. Yet there remains an urgent need to reconcile the tensions and ensure that curriculum and assessment theory does not ignore important insights from cognitive science.

Dr Helen Abadzi of University of Texas, USA, will explore these links - particularly the limits posed by working memory. This is a crucial area of educational theory and action. Officials of a low-income country have announced that schools will teach fewer facts and focus, instead, on critical thinking. Will this policy achieve its intended goal? And which rationale can be used for predictions?

As humans, we are only partly aware of how we learn. Memory limitations create systematic biases when people make decisions or predict how others learn. Such biases may significantly affect the decisions of curriculum developers, textbook authors, and policymakers. Education faculties worldwide offer limited coursework on memory, and therefore these forces are not well understood.

Dr Abadzi, an expert in cognitive psychology and neuroscience with 27 years experience at the World Bank, will present concepts of memory relevant to curriculum development, textbook use, and testing along with popular misconceptions.

The Cambridge Assessment Network provides professional development programmes and expert training for assessment professionals and organisations in the UK and internationally.

The Network is part of Cambridge Assessment, an international education group designing and delivering assessments to more than eight million learners in over 170 countries each year. We are committed to ensuring that all our assessments are fair, have sound ethical underpinning, and operate according to the highest technical standards. Our organisation is a department of the University of Cambridge and is not-for-profit.

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Additional Information

Age: 15+, Talk, Arrive on time, Free