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Collective quizzing to improve knowledge retention

01 July 2024
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In New Ways of Teaching , lecturers talk about their innovative, creative, and effective teaching initiatives. From unusual teaching methods to new technologies – anything goes. How do these ideas arise and what impact do they have on students? This month: Nina Mileva’s mini-quiz recap strategy, the ‘Quick Review Quiz’.

Picture of Nina Mileva
Nina Mileva

Usually, at the end of the block, students are required to reproduce in an exam what they have learned during the course. After seven weeks of classes, it is up to them to make sure they remember everything that can be covered in the exam. Nina Mileva, Assistant Professor of Public International Law, tries to help her students by providing them with a mini recap quiz each class, called the 'Quick Review Quiz'.

Two is a team

During the Quick Review Quiz, students are encouraged to answer three to five questions together about the material covered in the class before. The questions can be either multiple choice, true or false, or open ended, depending on the type of content that is being reviewed. The questions appear on a slide and students can answer them in plenary by raising their hand. If the answer is not correct, or not entirely correct, one of their peers may join in by giving the correct answer. This is what makes the revision activity an accessible collective learning experience.

Finding a balance

I piloted the Quick Review Quiz in my International Law course at the University College Groningen. This is an introductory course, open to both law students and students who are pursuing other specializations. This means that for some of the students this was their first encounter with a law course. A challenge for us lecturers with these kinds of introductory courses is that we want to make sure we are teaching at the right pace. It has to be gradual enough for the students to digest the material and fast enough to 'squeeze' everything in, so they can move on to advanced courses. 

With these things in mind, I wanted to achieve two goals. First, to enable my students to retain knowledge even when we cover a lot of material, and second, to make connections between past and present course materials. The mini-quiz enabled me to strike a balane between allowing key information from older materials to be reviewed and discussed and moving on to new subjects. The review moment at the beginning of each class was an opportunity to clarify the old material and provided a smooth transition into the new material.

Proven positive effect

The ‘Quick Review Quiz’ received an overwhelmingly positive response by the students, which even led to me being nominated for the 2024 Best Practice Award in Teaching and Learning. Students qualified it as a ‘simple yet effective method’ and praised it for enhancing their learning experience.  Even though I have to admit the method was not to everyone’s liking, I do believe that it generally helped students grapple with the material more effectively, helped them understand and retain information better, and  also had a positive impact on their performance. .

Research shows that having some kind of ongoing review quiz throughout the course significantly improves the performance of students as reflected in their final results. Here, I would like to draw attention to research conducted by our colleagues teaching at the UMCG department of Biomedical Science, who noted a 17% increase in the passing rate of students after review quizzes were introduced in their course (Van Duinen et al., 2024). 

Rewarding responses

As a lecturer, the Quick Review Quiz provided me with insight into the knowledge retention of the class. It allowed me to understand what parts of the material resonated with my students and what parts needed more attention. On a more general note, it also just gave me a lot of joy to see students gradually becoming more well versed in the material and witness some of the 'a-ha' moments that happened during the reviews.

As an educator, it is such a wonderful thing when students give you the confidence to lead them through different learning methods and it really motivates me as an educator to continue innovating throughout my teaching.

More information

Last modified:01 July 2024 4.04 p.m.
View this page in: Nederlands

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