[The first in a series of Teaching & Learning Tips (TLTs ) from SAUs Instructional Design Team]
As you read this post, put yourself in your student’s shoes, then your own, then your student’s, then your own…
There is nothing positive about a quiz! When used as a noun, definition #1 in Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary is: “A person who causes repeated emotional pain, distress, or annoyance to another.”
The list of synonyms includes these words: harasser, mocker, needler, persecutor, troublemaker, and pest.
We may have worked ourselves into a corner with the quiz – starting back with the pop quiz in our Introduction-to-something-we-didn’t-care-about class.
“Quiz” is an ideal word for Scrabble – but probably not something we want to incorporate in our course – especially an online course.
What would be the point? Online students can Google the answers and get every one of them correct. Why bother collecting grades for a quiz online? The only thing it might assess is search and rescue skills.
Innovative professor, Tom Kuntzleman demonstrates a student-centered case for the quiz. He uses it at the very beginning of a lesson: “The pretest just gets them thinking about the topic and seeing some of the vocabulary and terminology before we dive into learning.”
Kuntzleman and his chemistry students at Spring Arbor University teach a science lesson once a month for students attending Warner Elementary School. And you guessed it – the lesson starts with a quiz. On this pre-test of 5-7 questions related to the topic, Kuntzleman says, “…students on average score about 30 percent.”
Not to worry.
After they visit multiple stations where Kuntzleman’s students guide them in a learning activity, the students sit down and take another quiz. The post-test shows a dramatic change from just an hour earlier. “Students average about 70 percent on that one.” “It is impressive how much information these kids are taking in,” Kuntzleman says.
Isn’t this what teaching and learning is all about?
Try a quiz to introduce a concept – get your students thinking – and wow them with your content. You might be surprised what they know when the lesson is over.
Gentile, L. (2012, March 14). In the classroom: Students at Warner Elementary School learn science from Spring Arbor University professor. The Citizen Patriot. Retrieved from http://www.mlive.com
Merriam-Webster, (2012, March 19). Quiz. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com