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Teaching math

Do you use quizzes?

Author: Scolab | Publish on May 16, 2022

A lot of your work as a math teacher is making sure that your students master the concepts taught by evaluating them throughout their learning process. But giving too many tests can be time consuming for you and stressful for many students. Is there another way to evaluate them?

Research in cognitive psychology has shown that the more opportunities students have to practise recalling information or concepts learned from memory, the easier it will become for them down the road, for example, during a midterm exam. Quizzes are a great way to help them practise this skill!

These simple little tests are a low-risk way (they don’t count for much in terms of grades and are formative) of checking to see if your students have retained and understood the concepts taught and are able to use them appropriately and in the right context.

To be constructive, however, quizzes should follow certain criteria*:

  • Recap: Quizzes should not test students on specific subjects but rather on all the material covered since the beginning of the year.

  • Do not group questions into categories or modules: It’s best that two questions in a row don’t address the same concept. For example, one can be on geometry and the next on probabilities.

  • Leave room for error: A quiz doesn’t have to “count” in terms of grades. It’s best that it not be about success or failure.

  • Vary the frequency of the quiz content: From one quiz to another, deliberately “forget” certain subjects and then return to them in another quiz.

Encourage your students to create their own quizzes

Since success is often a question of practice—a lot of practice—encourage your students to create their own quizzes so that they can regularly review the concepts seen in class. This will make it a lot easier for them to prepare for tests and write them!

*Reference: Training given by Annie Murphy Paul

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