Daily quiz help

I’m preparing my syllabus for my upcoming Physical Optics course and I’d love some feedback on a policy I’m polishing regarding daily quizzes. Here’s a post from last summer laying out what I did in a recent class (general physics 2). For this upcoming class I don’t have 3 days per week, allowing for Mondays to be a reassessment day, so I was thinking of just doing a longer quiz on Tuesdays.

Here’s what I was thinking

  • every day assign 6 problems
  • randomly select one for the quiz on the next day
  • on Tuesdays additionally select a problem from two weeks prior

In addition I’m thinking that the assigned problems could be the context for both oral exams and office visits. In other words, it’s the only problems they’ll work on. Note, of course, that on all quizzes and exams the problems will be “turned inside out” so that they really represent a type of problem, instead of a specific problem.

Ok, first I realize that I have to be super careful selecting the six problems each day. There really can’t be any fillers in there or super hard ones with fancy tricks that’ll only work in weird situations. I’m up for that challenge.

Here’s one question I have: In the past class I assigned all new problems for the review day so they really had 6 problems for every standard (4 on the day we “covered” the material and 2 for the review homework). Should I assign 6 every night for this Tuesday-Thursday class? Or should I go with 4 since it doesn’t seem too hard to tackle them from Tuesday to Thursday (admittedly Thursday to Tuesday is easier)?

Second question: If a problem is randomly selected, can it be selected again? If so, maybe I should never provide solution sets. I guess I’m leaning toward that already so that they’ll know to just really have a good handle on all the problems (since they could show up anywhere: quiz, oral exam, office visit, etc).

I guess I’m right now circling around 6 problems per class and repeats are fine with no solution sets. What are the downsides I’m not seeing?

Some starter comments for you:

  • I’m going to be in this class and I’m really excited about this. Here’s why . . .
  • I’m going to be in this class, where can I get a drop card?
  • I think x problems per class is the perfect number, here’s why
  • Why do you put “covered” in quotes?
  • If you’re just giving them the problems they have to do, they’re not going to learn since there’s never a surprising question on an exam. You need to assess their understanding, not their ability to refine a fixed set of problems.
  • Can you give some examples of “turning a problem inside out?”

About Andy Rundquist

Professor of physics at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN
This entry was posted in syllabus creation, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Daily quiz help

  1. bretbenesh says:

    Would it be possible to assign the 6 problems due on Thursday on the prior Thursday so that students have a week to think about it? This may require that you delay a quiz. Or perhaps you could give a quiz on both Tuesday’s and Thursday’s material on the following Tuesday so that they have the weekend to study. Then there would be no quiz on Thursday, since they didn’t get much time to digest Tuesday’s material.

    • Andy "SuperFly" Rundquist says:

      I like keeping the content and the assessments rolling. Certainly I don’t see a lot of let down in my MWF courses. I actually have seen more of a let down from Thurs-Tues since they go so long without class.

      On Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 9:29 PM, SuperFly Physics wrote:


  2. achmorrison says:

    Isn’t the downside that 6 problems to digest between Tuesday and Thursday is not as much time as the students have between Thursday and Tuesday? It’s not so much the work required that I would be concerned about as much as the amount of extra material covered per class that student will be needing to process as they are working through the problems.

  3. Pingback: Portfolio SBG | SuperFly Physics

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