Monthly Archives: October 2012
I have started giving quizzes where students create the problems by rolling dice.
Today’s quiz was over matrices. I provided blank matrices of fixed dimensions, and had the students fill in numbers by repeated rolling a single die. Why would I do this? The first reason is to avoid cheating, since everyone’s quiz now has different matrices. The second and more important reason is to give the students ownership in creating the quiz so that they are more engaged in solving it.
Rest assured, when I grade these, I will definitely be looking for anything suspicious (e.g., matrices with all ones, identical matrices on quizzes of adjacent students).
I have already solved the problem of having to answer the 30-something different quizzes myself, by creating a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that does all of the calculations for me after I input each set of matrices that a student creates.
Now that I’m watching them work, it is fantastic!! Remember, they are taking a quiz over matrix calculations done by hand – potentially one of the most boring topics in the entire course, and they are 100% engaged!! The conversations are incredible!! They are actually teaching each other, which I love!!
Grading is even better!! Immediate feedback as I grade quizzes as they’re turned in. No one is comparing answers because they know that there is no point in doing so. The scores are excellent, without exception. I only had to take off a few points for a few students who made some minor miscalculations.
This is definitely something I will do more often. I know that some people view quizzes as an individual and quiet assessment, but I see it as a learning opportunity for them to communicate with each other, in their own language. Great job, students!!