Quick Quizzes – 1

I first offered the idea of quick quizzes to the TPRS community in or around 2002. They have proven themselves a winner in many ways. In this next series of six posts on quick quizzes, taken from my latest book on the Invisibles, I expand on earlier writings about this important assessment tool in order to delve deeper into how they can best be used in our comprehensible input classrooms:

Formative assessment is by far the best kind of assessment for comprehension-based classrooms. Quick Quizzes are short daily quizzes given whenever appropriate, sometimes at the end of a star phase and sometimes at the end of each class.

A quiz can easily be given at any moment during a journey around the star as long as the quiz writer is ever vigilant in writing them. The best quiz writers, the kind you want, are those exceptional students who keep writing them during class no matter what is being discussed. Such students are worth their weight in gold.

The quizzes can and should be brief, as brief as five questions. Short five question quizzes can be doubled to ten points and entered in the gradebook that way. Therefore, quick quizzes function not only as an assessment tool but also as a classroom management tool to keep the students on their toes since they never know when one will occur.

When students know that a quiz is likely at the end of class, or really at any moment, they tend to pay attention. I once had a quiz writer hand me four five-point quizzes in one 90-minute block with a particularly difficult class. At the end of class, four grades totaling 20 points were logged into the gradebook.

As the grades in that class kept piling up in the gradebook over the next few months, the students in the class who were responsible for it being so difficult for the rest of us saw their grades take a nose dive. The class slowly turned around and I was able to avoid the kind of mental suffering that happens to teachers when students in rowdy classes are allowed to go sometimes for days without being held accountable for good quality listening.

It was all because of the quiz writer in that class, and she was the only one like that in all my classes. She was part of the classroom management plan in that class. We all know that the best way to confront bullies is by punching them in the mouth, and that is what frequent multiple quick quizzes do.



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