Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Non-Punitive Quizzage

Non-Punitive Quizzage


In this post, I talked about students not doing the reading and how I didn't want to infantalize my classes by giving quizzes. I got lots of great suggestions that made me do a little re-thinking, and in the last two classes, I gave quizzes. I'd actually warned the first class -- the teeth-pulling one -- that there would be a quiz. Despite this, the results were largely pathetic. But the results of the class period were much better. After the students completed the quiz, I collected it, looked all of the quizzes over, and returned them to the students after getting an idea of where they were. Then we arranged our chairs for a discussion and went over the possible answers (it was an amazingly open quiz -- name five major things that happened in what had been the Roman Empire between that emperor who legalized Christianity and the guy who won the battle of Lechfeld, for example). Most of them had little to go on from what was written down, but if one person knew something, someone else could add to it, and then someone else could come up with another related thing, and so on. So I was able to demonstrate to them that they knew more than they'd thought, AND that they all needed to study more.

The second class erupted in protest. And then a couple of them said, "but we're usually prepared -- you should make it a group quiz!" So I told them that, as long as we could get really good answers to all the questions, we could do that. So we got in a group, and they were all over it. And they ribbed each other about wrongish answers ("Dude! That's like a hundred years too late! What are you thinking??"). It was really fun.

Best thing is that I managed to review a ton of stuff I'd been trying to get to, clarified a lot of things people were having trouble with, and tied it up with a big overview ribbon! I think I may start doing this more often, and earlier.

4 comments:

Ahistoricality said...

When I give pop quizzes, I always review the answers with the group after collecting them. When they realize how much or little they know compared to their colleagues, they don't complain about the grades. And a little vague terror keeps them doing the reading, mostly.

Belle said...

That rocks! I'm using RQs, and hate them. Just hate them. And they're not doing what I wanted them to do, as the students don't believe they count. Nothing I say seems to have any impact.

On the other hand, we had a session on African culture today that really worked. Very nice.

Michael said...

If they're not doing the reading, they're infants. Infantilize away!

Or maybe I'm just in a BITTER GRADING MOOD?

Kelly in Kansas said...

Sounds like you turned the lemons into lemonade. :-)