Quizzes are for Learning not just Evaluation

Uldis N. Streips, Ph.D.

University of Louisville

(+)1- 502-852-5365

In the Medical Microbiology and Immunology course, which I direct, I have included 6 quizzes during the semester with 2 between each Block Test. To make the quizzes a more meaningful educational experience for the students, I have designed them to provide subject discussion as well as evaluation of knowledge. Each quiz consists of two parts- “First take” (FT) and “Second take” (ST). First take is taken individually and has 10 questions for 15 minutes and is worth 10 points. The FT is handed in to the proctors and then the ST is distributed. The Second take consists of another 10 questions on the same subjects as FT but crafted to be more difficult and requiring some discussion for solution. On the ST, groups of students collaborate on knowledge but have no study aids permitted. The groups can be assigned or allowed to form freely. I prefer to have them do it whatever way they choose, and some students have huge groups, while others do it in smaller units. The groups are allowed 35 minutes for ST. The discussion is usually lively and loud. The groups arrive at a group answer for each question, hand individual answer sheets in to the proctor, and ST is worth 5 points. Technically, after discussion most everyone should receive 5 points, but some receive or transmit faulty information and receive less. Such students usually seek out other groups or accept other opinions. The ST provides students with an in depth discussion of the subjects covered by the quiz, cements vital concepts into their mind beyond just answering a multiple choice question and handing it in, and also develops group dynamics which will be useful later. Students accept this method readily and feel it helps them in acquiring and retaining information for subsequent tests.