Quizzes that Expand Engagement with Course Content

Engaging students in the learning process builds their thought and focus and can persuade students to become inspired readers. Here are some creative ways instructors can use quizzes to engage students.

  • Change up the structure – Give quick quizzes on the reading at the start of class. Occasionally ask students to offer their critical reflection on reading assignments. Make some quizzes open-book and offer some take-home quizzes. This eclectic approach gives students experience reacting to various types of quizzes and to keep quiz encounters from getting stale.
  • Collaborative – Students take the quiz, turn it over, stand up and discuss with a group of 2-3. After the dialog session, they come back to their quiz and are allowed to change their answers. Alternatively, have students complete the quiz, turn it in, then complete the identical quiz with a partner or a small team. The two quiz scores can be consolidated into one individual score.
  • Quiz with resources – Students will take better notes on readings and in-class since they’re permitted to use notes during the quiz.
  • Quiz after discussions – Before the quiz, students can ask questions about potential content. The teacher and the class discuss the questions. If good questions have been asked, replied to, and discussed by the majority of the students, the teacher tells the class they’ve had their quiz and everyone present will get full credit. This methodology urges students to ask better questions and encourages innovative classroom discussions.
  • Online quizzes finished before class – Quizzes are evaluated electronically with a recap sent to the teacher so there’s sufficient time to inspect the missed issues and/or to recognize areas of misconception. Class time can be used to address the ideas that are giving students the most trouble.

Regular quizzing helps with retrieval practice, which is important for deep learning, enhances class interest and gets more students coming to class prepared.

Adapted from “Five Types of Quizzes That Deepen Engagement with Course Content” by Maryellen Weimer

Pandey, C. & Kapitanoff, S. (2011). The influence of anxiety and quality of interaction on collaborative quiz performance. Active Learning in Higher Education, 12(3), 163-174.

Rezaei, A. R. (2015). Frequent collaborative quiz taking and conceptual learning. Active Learning in Higher Education, 16(3), 187-196.

Brame, C. J. & Biel, R. (2015). Quiz-enhanced learning: The potential for quizzing to promote greater learning in undergraduate science courses. Cell Biology Education – Life Sciences Education, 14(Summer), 1-12.

Tropman, E. (2014). In defense of reading quizzes. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 26(1), 140-146.