How to Run In-Class Preparation Quizzes

Best Practices For In-Class “Preparation Quizzes” (given in class with clickers)

How to run them:

  • Announce that you will start the quiz. Ask/make sure students put away all textbooks, phones. This should be “quiet” just like a standard paper and pencil quiz.  If you have TAs/tutors, have them stand up and start standard “proctoring”.
  • Display the question (I put a red “box”/ring around the edge of quiz slides so stduents know a) these are for “points” and b) there will be no discussion
  • After each one show the graph and announce the right answer (circle it if you have a tablet), or have the next slide have that answer boxed. Explain any confusion as you go (i.e., briefly explain why the answer is right. If <85% get it right, see advice below).
  • Go on to next question. Make sure students are quiet again. (Some people prefer to “do” all the quiz questions, then go over the answers.)
  • Announce when the “quiz part” of class is over.

Things to know about preparation quizzes

  • We recommend announcing the answer to each quiz question before going on to the next one because students’ brains are READY to learn right after engaging with the question
  • If 85-90% or less of them get it right, there’s a problem, because everyone should know this. Depending on your time/perception of the severity of the problem/importance of the topic.
    • If less critical/problematic, explain it yourself
    • If MORE critical/problematic, BEFORE you show the graph, say, Wow, this was a challenging concept, let’s figure out what’s up. Go ahead and discuss this with your group and then we’ll take another vote.
  • Don’t make them too hard — these aren’t “quiz” or “exam” questions. They are the IMPETUS to read/prepare. They indicate what everyone MUST know in order to come in and engage in class. Not an “end of term” level of knowledge. One possible way to think about it is to imagine that you are reading the textbook while running on a treadmill AND watching the TV at the same time. What would you imagine a student would get from the reading?