The Extraordinary Teaching Project: Using Collaborative Quizzes

Featured Instructors:

Tania Leal, Ph.D., University of Iowa alumna

Overview:

Cooperative quizzes allow students to use assessment as a learning tool.

Benefits:

  • Encourages student preparation and confidence
  • Encourages student participation
  • Improves student understanding
  • Encourages knowledge retention

Description:

Tania Leal uses cooperative quizzes to turn assessment into a learning tool that improves understanding, retention, and motivation. Cooperative Quizzes (also called group quizzes, collaborative quizzes, pyramid exams, or two-stage exams) are assigned to groups after students have completed an individual quiz. Groups are responsible for coming to consensus on each answer, which will require them to discuss and debate course material. Students’ grades are calculated by weighting both the individual and the group assessment. Leal has found that this strategy encourages thoughtful discussion and more sophisticated understanding of major course themes by engaging students at that key moment when student receptiveness for understanding is at its peak.

Instructor:



Tania Leal, PhD, University of Iowa Alumna



Overview:



Cooperative quizzes allow students to use assessment as a learning tool.



Transcript:







0:00 - 0:10



If you have a class where you have done a lot of group work, and the group work has been established and they’re working in groups a lot,it makes a lot of sense to assess these things in the same way that you have been working.



0:10 – 0:45



A cooperative quiz is the second part of an individual assessment. The first part, the student completes individually and the second part the student is in a group. And he or she receives a different version of the first quiz they got – so the hardest questions or the most complicated or the tricky ones or whatever – they get them again, but this time they have all to agree on one single answer. So even though they get, let's say three minutes for the first time and three minutes for the second one, during the second time they'll be doing a lot of talking and convincing as quickly as they can.



0:45 – 1:16



In a group is sometimes when you have to shine individually the most. You know, if you’re just going by Democracy, you know, “Three members think it's A let's move on.” If you have a really good reason why and you know this is the answer, then you have to develop those skills to communicate to them. It’s not how many people by consensus wins, but who has the best argument. Who can defend this point better? You know, so that is your individual reasoning and critical skills bringing them to the group to enhance the group work.



01:16 – 1:38



These seem to work well for particular groups of students that are quiet. And sometimes it’s their way of participating. So often they like to have frequent quizzes because that's their way of letting the teacher know, “I’m here. I'm reading your material. I might not be raising my hand the whole time, but...” In smaller groups they can build their confidence to say something.



1:38 – 2:32



You have a student that did not study for the test and, let's say, just didn't answer any of the questions and then gets in a group and gets a B or whatever it is. So a lot of people are concerned: Is this cheating? Did they just copy? For this reason these quizzes are always graded using a proportion or a weight. So it depends; it's up to the instructor. But very often these quizzes count either 50/50 or 75 for the individual assessment and 25 for the group assessment. I mean you can, you know, use all sorts of percentages to decide. But this way they're accountable for individual work but they also have to participate in the group work. And the idea of these kinds of quizzes is that they happen often along the semester where students develop this sense of responsibility with one another.



2:32 – 3:10



Very often you find that students right after their test or their quiz they’ll say, “Well, what was A or B?” You know they care at that moment. Two days later when they get the test they just, you know, they'll throw it away without looking at the answers. They just look at the grade because in that moment whatever the answer for it — A or B — is not important anymore. What's important is what grade they get.



So the idea is to capitalize on that sort of need in the moment, like “Oh, what was A? What was A?” To put them in a group and say, “This is what it was I think,” and then to actually get immediate feedback. It’s good to see them interested afterwards, its like “See, I told you!” or “You know, this was the point: I should have said this! Next time I'm gonna!” Those are the kinds of reactions that you want! Right?



3:10 – 3:32



I mean, I think a lot of people hear about these and look at their classroom and how they can interact and think, “Oh, this will be perfect! I mean they’re already working in groups, it would be a sort of a good extension." And if not, you know, if they haven’t been working in groups, then I guess my advice would be look into group work first and then into assessment second, so that your assessment is coherent with the way that you teach.