I’ve written about sneaky quizzes in the past. Originally, they were intended to get a grade for the gradebook (I had not discovered ungrading) while being another source of input. I called them “quick quizzes,” rebranded as “comprehension checks,” and then went back. Call them whatever you like. This update is a new way to go about them, scaled to whatever you need, like breaking up a long class with a 5-minute quiz, or adding group collaboration to get a 20-minute activity. In a nutshell:
- Collect quiz content from each student.
- Use those for the quiz.
- Go over the quiz.
About quizzes…I haven’t been putting a single score on anything this whole year, and I’m not going back. If you do, though, have students score their own work. I also haven’t assigned any specific work to turn in this whole year (see portfolios), and I’m not going back. If you do have specific assignments students are expected to turn in, though, report these scores in the gradebook like you would anything else. Here’s more detail…
The magical part of crowdsourcing the quiz content from students is that their Qs or T/F statements are evidence of learning alone! You can easily spot the students who confuse text details, or the ones who generate the most obvious of obvious quiz content. It might be that they can handle more but are just phoning it in, or it might be a sign that they process language slowly. It’s your job to follow up on that (e.g., probe with fill-in-the-blank and open-ended Qs at some point during class). So, you get evidence before you even get evidence. There are two formats to crowdsource quizzes, digital vs. scrap paper, and either format supports solo or group quizzing.
OK disclaimer time: I’m really trying to get away from anything digital, printing single pages and small packets when we can’t use existing books or project text. I’ve found tech to be a complete distraction, especially this year. Most phone apps are on the computer at this point, too, so phone policies are somewhat useless when students are given laptops. When I walk around, I see many students with ~10 tabs open at any given moment, definitely not doing just Latin; their attention pulled in different directions. I’ve been there, too. Those years of Zoom meetings have conditioned me to be working on something else while attending the meeting, paying attention only when someone’s addressing me or I have to type something into the chat. I’ve learned that many of these other tasks are just way to confusing to try and tackle alongside a meeting. So much brain power is being used up between listening and thinking that I’m way more exhausted than I should be. But I’m an adult. Students don’t know enough to know that they’re causing this exhaustion for themselves! N.B. it’s possible that younger adults also have this problem, too. Last week, in my Ph.D. course (!!), one student was shopping for books on Amazon, and another was on another site looking at shoes. This, during 1 of just 14 classes. For a Ph.D.
So anyway, the digital option has students submit their quiz content in a Google Form (screenshot above), then you project the sheet when it comes time to take the quiz, and choose which ones students should answer (e.g., zoom in and circle w/ digital pen on a smartboard, as shown on the screenshot below). Granted, this option will only collect the quiz content (not responses). If you’re planning on collecting those quizzes, you’ll need scrap paper or something. Since I don’t collect them, students respond right in their notebook (i.e., in a portfolio system, they can choose to upload this as learning evidence, or not).
Scrap Paper Option
This one’s reliable, and distraction-free. Students submit their quiz content on scrap paper, then you read them aloud when it comes time to take the quiz. If you’re planning on collecting those quizzes, keep in mind you’ll need 2x scrap paper. Since I don’t collect them, students respond in their notebook (i.e., in a portfolio system, they can choose to upload this as learning evidence, or not).
Solo vs. Collaborative
If used as a break in the middle of class when things are getting crazy, keep it solo to bring the energy down to a calm level. If used when class seems to be dragging, put students in groups to collaborate on the statements, and/or responses. If groups, the quizzes can be much, much longer, and you might want to specify having more open-ended questions (instead of faster, easier True/False). Again, this is scalable to what you need.