Monthly Archives: August 2013

Replacing Quizzes with Games

Often times quizzes are use to ensure students are reading or viewing required course materiel.  I have replaced that with a trivial game.  I take my quiz questions and divide the questions by level of difficulty. I run the game in rounds. Student work in groups or pairs to answer the questions. What I have seen so far is that student apply peer pressure on each other to make sure everyone is prepared for the game. I have also seen more peer mentoring on assignments.  Group members tend to be willing to ask others for help and to help each other when needed. The game is run as follows.

Round one will contain 4 or 5 relatively easy multiple choice questions, each worth one point.  They are given 25 seconds to come up with an answer. Where is no penalty for incorrect answers to these questions. Round one ends with an optional bonus question.  Bonus questions are presented to the students as fill in the blank.  It is optional and is double or nothing on all of the points they have earned on round one questions.

Round two begins with multiple choice questions that are more difficult in nature. Typically 4 or 5 questions, each worth 2 points.  As in round one there is no penalty for incorrect answers. The students are given slightly more time to answer the questions than in round one.  They are given 30 seconds to come up with an answer. Just as in round one, round two ends with a fill in the blank bonus question. It is an optional question and is double or nothing on the point earned in round two.

Round three consists of 4 or 5 fill in the blank questions, with varying levels of difficulty. The questions are worth 5 points apiece and the students are given 45 seconds to come up with their answer. As in previous rounds there are no penalties for incorrect answers on these questions. Round three ends with a super bonus questions.  Typically it is a multiple answer essay question. It is an optional question that is double or nothing on all the points they have earned thus far in the game. To receive credit the students must have all of the correct answers.

Points earned through the game are accumulated over the entire semester with the winning group earning some type of reward. Reward can very from extra credit to the ability to drop assignments. True competition is seen from the groups as they try to egg on other groups to take risks on bonus questions. Interesting feedback was given from the students after last semester.  They actually wanted less time to answer the questions. One on one follow up questioning, reveled that students believed they knew the answers better than others and a shorter time period for answers would be to their advantage.

In future versions of the game I plan on making a few changes.  First I would like to find a way for the students to submit answers electronically.  Second, I am planning on letting the groups choose a group name to increase unity of the group members. Third and finally, I am planning on placing hints or clues within the lecture materiel as too what the final super bonus question will be.  Further update will come as the game is rolled out this semester.


Are we asking the right questions?

I was going through my my feeds this morning and a a cartoon caught my eye and got me thinking. I had seen it before it is pretty common. For a fair selection everybody has to take the same exam, please climb that tree.Although it is true we often suffer from test bias and that is a problem to be addressed, there is a question that is missed here. Have we asked the question, what skills or knowledge are we wanting to assess? The exam in this cartoon is fine if we are assessing ones ability to climb a tree, but it should not be used to assess anything else.  Assessments outcomes are only as reliable as how well they reflect the intended assessment goals.