Wisdom Begins with Wonder

Group Quiz Results!

Backstory:

So, here’s what went down…

My students took this quiz individually, for a grade:

Then they took it as a small group, not for a grade:

These pictures are fairly indicative of the engagement level as the students discussed the quiz and haggled over the correct answers. The observed level of engagement alone tells me that this is a learning experience worth repeating.

Data:

  • Class mean for individual quiz = 2.7 (on 4 point #SBAR rubric scale; approximately letter grade = B)
  • Class mean for group quiz (same quiz, same kids, same class period immediately after taking individual quiz) = 3.33 (approximately = A-)

Analysis:

Much of the increased mean score is due to the fact that no group scored below a 2.5, while 5 individual students did. However, there were no individuals that scored a 4 individually, while 2 groups did so. Only 2 of 6 groups improved above the highest score in their group. One actually declined, although that was because the high scorer left during the group portion of the quiz.

Conclusion:

Based on the high engagement level that I observed during the group quiz and the level of discourse I heard in nearly all groups, this was a worthwhile learning experience. I think I will make the group quiz a regular practice in my classes going forward.

Next steps:

I need to add an individual reflection step at the end of the group quiz. This should be brief but impactful. Something like this:

  1. What mistakes or misconceptions did you have on your individual quiz that were changed by the group quiz?
  2. What questions do you still need help with after the group quiz?
  3. How did the group quiz help you learn more about this standard?
  4. What are your next steps? (study, re-assess, get help, etc.)

I think this would really help to link the group quiz to the re-learning & re-assessment cycle.

Another next step would be to assign specific roles for the students to play during the group quiz (leader, recorder, questioner, etc.) and give them some discussion prompts, especially in my non-honors classes.

Unanswered Questions:

How did the group quiz impact re-assessment scores? Did the group quiz help students improve their understanding of the content? Is this better than me just going over the correct answers?



6 comments ↓

  • #   Ashley on 03.10.13 at 12:48 pm     

    I love this idea and the process you have gone through. Maybe I missed this, but how did you group your students for the group quiz portion? Did you want a wide variety of ability levels or was it mostly random?

    Thanks!


  • #   Mr. Rice on 03.10.13 at 1:36 pm     

    Ashley,

    Good question. My students in each class are currently grouped for optimal group heterogeneity and productivity.

    When I group my students, I like to place them together in a way that I think will allow them to work productively as a group.

    First, I identify leaders in the class and make sure each group gets one.
    Second, I identify serious attendance problems and try to ensure that each group gets no more than one – nothing kills a group or 4 like having 2 or 3 of them gone each day!
    Third, I try to make sure each leader has a “wing man,” i.e., someone who isn’t a leader but who will follow a leader and help get group work done.
    Next, I try to make sure each group has 2 males and 2 females, if possible. Many students don’t like to be the only male/female in their group. Once I know the kids well enough, I know which kids have personalities that can handle being the only male/female in their group. If this isn’t possible, I will sometimes make a group of all males or all females.
    Finally, I try to create groups with good personality combinations and avoid known bad pairings (mortal enemies, good friends that always distract each other, etc.).

    This can be a pretty complex process and requires knowledge of my students. When I do it well, though, we get highly productive groups that get along pretty well.

    All of that said, there are also times where I let my students choose their own groups. This really depends on the group and the type of activity we are doing.


  • #   Nick Sourvelis on 03.10.13 at 4:23 pm     

    I think I would continue to do it individually then as a group. You could average both grades (weighted for fairness). That way they never get too dependent on the smart kid. I think there a lot of learning happening both for the students, but I think there’s a lot of information in comparing the two results.


  • #   Mr. Rice on 03.16.13 at 5:53 pm     

    Nick,

    I agree on continuing to quiz the students individually, then as a group. However, I don’t see a great way to integrate a group quiz grade into a true standards-based grade. In other words, how do I know that a student contributed any knowledge towards a group quiz? It is important that my grades reflect the knowledge and skill level of the student and not that of his group.


  • #   Brian Orr on 09.29.13 at 7:36 pm     

    This is a great idea, Mr. Rice. Some mathematics courses I have taken in the past implemented this into the end of each class, whenever we did a quiz or assignment. It was a lot of fun actually, and very useful for learning and asking “horizontal” questions about the nuances of math techniques.

    By the way, my name is Brian Orr, a student from the University of South Alabama. I’m studying Sec. Math Edu. and was directed to your blog on behalf of my Microsystems class, EDM 310. Overall, I enjoy your blog very much. You have an inspiring Educator’s Oath, one that I do not see reflected in most teacher’s methods. I particularly admire you noting your family as the most important aspect of your life; that already says much about your classroom.

    I will have to keep reading up on this topic of 2-stage quizzes/assignments. The results of your trial alone are hopeful. I can see many types of courses using this as well, objective and subjective material both being understood better with discussion. For the group discussion not to get awkward, topics of conversation do seem quite useful, along with the teacher floating around giving each group ample time to ask questions.

    Thank you for your ideas and implementation Mr. Rice, and I hope all goes well with your classroom.


  • #   Mr. Rice on 09.30.13 at 3:09 pm     

    Brian,

    Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. I get a lot of commenters from the University of South Alabama and enjoy what the Ed student perspective brings to the table. I look forward to more comments from you!

    With respect to group quizzes, I believe the greatest benefit to be the immediate corrective feedback that students receive from their peers.


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