A Study of the Application of Weekly Online Quizzes in Two Courses of Mathematics for Engineering Students – Is it a fair and effective strategy to increase students’ learning?

Sandra Gaspar Martins

Abstract


While the application of quizzes has been the subject of research there is still not consensus regarding the best strategy to implement them or if they effectively increase students’ learning. This study investigated the application of weekly online quizzes in two courses of mathematics for engineering students to determine if it is a fair and effective strategy to increase students’ learning. Two sets of quizzes were applied to Single and to Multivariable Calculus, each with around 100 students. The quizzes were not mandatory, questions were the same for every student (not randomised) and the students could resubmit without penalty. It was expected that all students would achieve the total quiz grades, which represented 10% of the final grade, but only if they got more than 45% in their regular assessments. It was made clear to students that the quizzes were relevant for them as formative assessment. The conclusions were that students strongly adhere to quizzes, and that they make students study more and become more aware of their level of understanding. Very few students classified quizzes as unfair. Nearly all students answering the surveys found quizzes useful and believed that it helped them to achieve better grades. Course grades also increased in those semesters.

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