Our statistics course is more heavily content-oriented and cumulative by nature so I use short low-stakes quizzes to keep students from falling behind. However, I want student to develop a greater sense of what they know and how well they know it. After each class, I post a few study questions based on what we just covered. The next class, there is a quiz on that material. This reinforces learning and prepares students for class, but it can be a lot to grade. It is also stressful for some students. To address these issues, I give students a choice about whether to count the quiz or not. They must count at least 10 quizzes (out of about 15 chances) over the semester. Before the quiz begins, they “declare” their intention to count/not count the quiz with a green or red sticker. Then all students take the quiz. I grade ONLY the counted quizzes (green stickers) but all students benefit from taking the quiz and going over it in class. Students also feel less pressure because they can choose to “not count” a quiz for which they felt unprepared. The key point is that they choose to “count” or “not count” in advance based on their assessment of their understanding of the concepts.
On November 12, 2019 Muhlenberg colleagues gathered to share their teaching hacks. Teaching hacks are relatively simple strategies that we might use to improve student learning or reduce our workload. These strategies might free up additional class time, increase the efficiency of our practices, or better support our ability to work on scholarship or service.