Q&A #7323

Length of quizzes

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From: Jeanne (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: Nov 19, 2001 at 21:07:04
Subject: Re: Length of quizzes

Hi Cindy,
There are no hardfast rules for how many questions to ask, how much content 
to assess, nor how much time to allow for a quiz (or test). So much depends 
upon you, your class, your grading, and your teaching/learning objectives.  
Gail brings up some very good points about making decisions about designing  
assessments. Here are some thoughts of my own.  

I tend to think of quizzes as short assessments (5 to 15 minutes) that 
students SHOULD finish in the allotted time. How much content is assessed on 
the quiz depends upon the purpose of the quiz. If the questions are a "preview 
of what is important on the upcoming chapter test or final," yes, I am 
somewhat flexible with time. I have some mainstreamed students from our 
special education classes, as well as English Language Learners in all of my 
classes. BUT if too many students need the entire class period, then I look at 
what I was asking of them, adjust my teaching and make notes for later 
quizzes. Perhaps I asked too much. Perhaps I quizzed too soon.

There ARE times when a timed quiz/test is part of my objective. For example, I 
ask PSAT/SAT type questions to give the kids a sense of how long 1 minute is. 
In this case, I ask 10 multiple choice questions and give them about 15 
minutes. If I am pushing for mastery of a concept, I sometimes ask 1 question, 
give them 2 to 5 minutes and give the same assessment several times in a week.  
This could be..."what is the quadratic formula?"  

Point values of quizzes vary--again with the quiz objectives. I also tend to 
make quizzes worth relatively few points because I want my students to focus 
on the goal(s) of the quiz--to learn something about themselves, their 
understanding, and their speed (if this is an SAT type quiz). Just before the 
PSAT is given at our school, I give the kids a practice quiz for 
"participation points." This is where we talk about test taking strategies, 
test scoring, and do some review of old concepts. The quadratic formula quiz, 
for example, is worth 2 points each time (no partial credit) and has a reward.  
If everyone in the class gets a perfect score, they each get 5 points of extra 
Hope this helps.

 -Jeanne, for the T2T service

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