While teaching children every teacher has the necessity to check knowledge at the beginning or at the end of the lesson or just give a test as a hometask. It doesn’t matter how difficult or easy the test is, children try to have a sneaky peek at their neighbour’s answers or just to cheat and copy someone’s work. Can self-study quizzes be useful? Should we use them at the lesson or as a part of independent homework? Let’s try to figure out.
What are self-study quizzes?
Self-study quizzes help your students independently revise their knowledge and review what they have learned previously. They are traditionally not assessed and help us teach our students to get knowledge, not a good mark. Self-study quizzes are one of the possible variants of recalling information when it is almost forgotten (Ebbinghaus curve of memorization) and, thus, consolidate the material in the mind.
Are they useful?
Of course, it depends on how teachers use these tests. In case tests are taken “automatically” by students, without thinking and analyzing, they do not bring any use and just waste precious time of the lesson. On the other hand, short self-study quizzes can help to recall previous knowledge and review some topics in almost no time.
The most useful tests are the ones where students should answer in their own words. Multiple choice questions or true-false questions are not so effective. Moreover, just asking yourself “why” can be extremely beneficial for students’ deep learning. This concept is called “self-explanation”. Motivate them to ask “why” at the lessons, ask them (when you need to check their understanding) and encourage them to do it at home.
How to use them?
If children try to cheat, your task is to make cheating senseless. Whether children do the test at home or in class, before checking it with the whole class, suggest children compare their replies in pairs. First, students compare their answers, if some answers differ, they should discuss and find a common denominator – agree on one answer. If children cheat, it won’t be interesting for them to compare answers. They will probably feel out of place, which will motivate them next time to do tasks on their own.
What should be taken into account when you compose a test?
- Start formulating a question with the correct answer;
- The content of the test must meet the curriculum requirements and reflect the content studied previously;
- The question should contain one complete thought;
- Avoid the words big, small, small, many, few, fewer, more, etc. in questions, as well as introductory phrases and sentences that have little connection with the main idea;
- Wrong answers should be reasonably chosen.
- It is better to avoid tricky questions;
- Use short, simple sentences.
- Use less negation;
- The answer to the question should not be connected with the previous one or the answer to the previous question;
- Right and wrong answers should be unequivocal in terms of content, structure and total number of words;
- Avoid repetition;
- The place of the correct answer should be not repeated from question to question;
- It is better to use a long question and a short answer.
To create a test, use websites FlexiQuiz, Survey Monkey or Google Forms. If you need a test checking how well students learned new words, use Quizlet or Kahoot (you can read more about using Kahoots and other tools for vocabulary practise here).
I hope your students will enjoy the tests that you create for them!