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Best Quiz Given

March 6, 2012

I had a great experience giving a quiz today. I like to do little quizzes to check for understanding as part of formative assessment. I have tried various approaches such as:

  • working with elbow partners
  • one or two questions written on the board with a response written on scrap paper
  • oral questions
  • creating a physical object (geometry) or representation
  • drawing a diagram or
  • creating a mind map

Today I tried something different. We were completing our unit on adding fractions and I wanted to make sure that students could use models to represent the addition of fractions and add them algebraically. I created a quiz which I thought I would take the better part of the period.

To start with I placed a line on the board for each student to write in their names. I let them choose the place to write their name. I then rolled dice to determine a number to assign each student making sure that two students had a 1, two students had a 2, etc. Since there was an off number I had three students with the same number. This formed my groups and was the point I told the students what they were doing.

I provide the students with one quiz between each group. Students were told the following “rule”:

  • only one quiz per group was to be submitted
  • the quiz was open book
  • they could use calculators
  • each student would be assigned the same mark per group if they were all on task
  • students who were off task would have a mark deducted from their score and awarded to the other student
  • the quiz must be handed in by the end of class
  • all work must be ordered logically with work shown
Overall this went very well. While the students were completing the quiz I was able to observe them work and make anecdotal notes on each student. I was also able to observe the following:
  • students learned from each other
  • all questions were answered
  • students did not need to look at their notes
  • students did not use a calculator
  • students who have graphomotor problems were able to have the other student scribe
  • all quizzes were neat and easy to follow student thinking
  • student who were not good at writing out their solutions and showing their work learned from their partners

For those who care about number the average mark on the quiz was around 90%. I guess this would not be a surprise however, all of the questions given on the quiz were much more difficult than what I would have given on a normal quiz.

Perhaps you have tried a similar strategy if so I would love to hear what has worked for you.

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