Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Quiz days

Quiz days are always tough days to try and teach. You either take the beginning of class reviewing the material on the quiz (in which case, experience has shown that students won’t study for it) or teaching new material (in which case students won’t absorb it because they’re focusing on the quiz). If you try and teach afterwards, the students feel burned out and, again, absorb nothing. Thus, when I have a brief class (50 minutes) I try to keep quiz days simple – answer any questions they have, give them the quiz and either give them a brief in-class writing assignment or simply let them go. This setup also allows me to grant the necessary extra time to any special needs students I may have without scheduling a completely separate time for the quiz.

In preparing students for a quiz, once they have enough knowledge to do so (This can begin as early as mid-way through the first semester), I will sometimes have them prepare a quiz in groups and hand it in to me the day before they receive the actual quiz. I then use some of what is provided by the students (in addition to some items of my own invention) in creating their quiz. Students seem to appreciate being involved in the process of assessment and it gets them to think critically about the material they've absorbed.

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