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 author of many education books, including Bestseller Hacking Education, part of his Hack Learning Series, books that solve big problems with simple ideas. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and student-centered learning. Join more than 100,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.
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