5 Reasons to Stop Giving Quizzes in School

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In my days as a traditional teacher, I loved quizzes. I informed students and parents that the quiz was a valuable tool, because it held students accountable.

The “pop” quiz was an even greater weapon, as it kept students in a constant state of anxiety, always wondering when they’d be caught unprepared and their grade would be doomed. Students who weren’t ready for the nefarious pop quiz typically scored poorly and, thus, their overall grade declined.

When I converted my class to a Results Only Learning Environment, I eliminated all testing, including quizzes. Here are five reasons that I stopped giving traditional quizzes.

  1. Most quizzes are made up of multiple choice items, which provide inaccurate results, because you never really know when a student guesses.
  2. Many students simply don’t test well, so they may know the material but get the quiz questions wrong.
  3. There are many activities that engage students and are conducive to formative assessment, which is far less threatening than a quiz and provides much better feedback.
  4. Quizzes create anxiety and tend to hurt students’ grades.
  5. If the goal is to check for learning, why not use a tool like Socrative, which will give you a good pulse of what students know, without punishing them with a punitive grade.

Do you know any reasons I left out?

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Mark Barnes is the Founder and CEO of Times 10 Publications, which produces the popular Hack Learning Series -- books that provide right-now solutions for teachers and learners. Mark is the author or publisher of dozens of books, including Bestseller Hacking Education: 10 Quick Fixes for Every School. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and Hack Learning. Join more than 115,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.
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