Daily quizzes might be the key to an A


| 6 Comments

 Its finals week, you're cramming all the information you can for you're upcoming exams, and if you're anything like me you're calculating the lowest possible grade you can get on the final and still pass the class. It's moments like these that I start thinking, what if our grade depended on something else rather than our final exam.

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Trying to find something to improve overall performance (and attendance) was the main goal of this study just conducted using the 901 students in an intro to psychology course at the University of Texas. The students were quizzed on their computers at the beginning of every class; the quizzes each student received had seven questions that were the same among the entire class. The eighth question was personalized to the student taking the quiz, usually just a question they got wrong on a previous quiz. Then the cumulative quiz scores would take the place of the final exam. Many students disliked this process at first but by the end of the course the class had outperformed the previous psych class by scoring "10% higher on subset of 17 questions that appeared on both classes' test" and slightly higher overall grades. Also, the quizzes were all based off of readings and previous class material, which helped increase attendance rated to 90% at the middle of the semester from the dismal average of 60%. All in all the study found that switching the grading system of a class from one based on midterms and finals to one based on daily quizzes improves attendance and overall performance.

For someone like me who really needs motivation to attend class regularly this idea of being quizzed during every class is something I could definitely get used to. The idea seems pretty foolproof to me as long as you show up everyday and do the readings the night before, you're going to do just fine on the quiz. By how the results showed that grades improved significantly using this method I think it is safe to say that the daily quiz also helps students retain the information much easier than having to just study for one huge exam at the end of the semester. 

6 Comments

i've often heard that studying using flash cards is effective because it involves quizzing yourself. Also because its active, rather than just looking passively looking at a piece of paper with no movement. It also allows you to see how close you were to the correct answer. Plus you can also easily separate the ones you know rather than the ones you still need to work on. This is why I use flash cards, since that's how I learn best.
http://blog.brainscape.com/2011/04/why-flashcards-effective/

This is such a great thing I've been hearing about. I know That it would help me out personally, and most likely keep attendance up in colleges across America. I think where true learning begins is middle school and high school. As a nation we need to have better standards for our teachers. I'm not saying all teachers are bad, but a lot of school districts, especially where I am from, have their own political councils that have the final say in the hiring process. The teachers who get hired seem to have family working there already, which sounds like a conflict of interest to me. But I'm only one person I guess. In the end I really do think this could help our country as a whole.

I can totally relate to this study. I feel like even though daily or weekly quizzes might be really annoying, it absolutely makes me pay more attention in class and focus a lot more on the material for the day. The fact that the study pointed out that attendance was increased by 30% is absolutely incredible. I feel like that statistic alone would make any professor implement this system. Another good, and more controversial way to improve grades is to drink coffee. According to a study done at Missouri Western University, caffeine consumption improved college students grades. Do you think that coffee combined with weekly quizzes is the key to a smarter future?

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111114221018.htm

Honestly, if this grading system were to be instilled at PSU I would not be a fan of it, but thats because I am a person that likes to have final tests instead of class by class participation. I feel that if I retained enough information to pass a cumulative final, then I deserve to pass the class. I don't want to be punished for not understanding a topic as soon as other people in the class and do poorly on quizzes when I could have an entire semester to remember that same information.

Heres some other ways to become a more effective learner.
http://psychology.about.com/od/educationalpsychology/tp/effective-learning.htm

It makes sense why students would have higher grades on the final test because the students are seeing the material multiple times throughout the year and getting practice taking the tests. When we cram the night before we just see the material that one night so its not too surprising that we dont do as well

I actually think that this method of testing is a really good idea, and has many benefits. For instance, like you mentioned in the article, attendance would be so much higher. Students would have incentive to attend class, and by attending class they would not only be able to complete their quizzes, but they would do better because they would be learning the material while in class. However, I do think that since it is such a different type of grading for a class, the study should be conducted multiple more times at other schools, or at least in varied types of classes.

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