Introductory level courses in many Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) disciplines require students to acquire an enormous new discipline-specific vocabulary in preparation for future courses. Students are often not prepared for the amount of self-directed studying they must do to be successful in these types of courses, particularly in their first year of college. To assist students in more accurately gauging their readiness for an exam, online low-stakes quizzes were implemented in a freshman level course, giving students an opportunity to practice their new language with minimal grade-related consequences. This quizzing strategy provides students an opportunity to self-assess their current level of knowledge. The quizzes also provide feedback, helping students determine how to adjust their behavior to ensure that acquisition of the missing knowledge is successful. This paper presents preliminary results of the research effort and illustrates the effects of this low-stakes quizzing. Specifically, this paper evaluates (1) whether the quizzing helps students to better prepare for medium and high stakes exams; (2) whether the quizzing increases the mean exam scores compared to previous semesters with no quizzing; and (3) whether the quizzing must be required (low-stakes) to be effective, or whether it can be optional (no-stakes) and still benefit students.
Davis, Kirsten A.. (2011). "Using Low-Stakes Quizzing for Student Self-Evaluation of Readiness for Exams". 2011 Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), F3D-1 - F3D-6. http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/FIE.2011.6142954