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Kouyoumdjian: Increasing Attendance and Study Behavior

Page history last edited by Laura Ficarra 12 years, 3 months ago

There is utility of the dreaded “pop quiz”!  One of the most important aspects of effective teaching and learning is student engagement.  In order for students to be engaged with the activities, discussion, and lecture that a class has to offer, the students must attend class!  For novice as well as experienced college instructors, student attendance and preparedness for class is essential.  This article is also helpful in terms of incorporating incentives for students to complete reading assignments indirectly into the design of the course.


The provided reference is of a study that was conducted in order to ascertain the effects of unannounced quizzes, as opposed to a cumulative exam, on college students’ attendance and preparation/study habits for the course.


In this study, the unannounced quizzes only counted for 3% of the students’ final grade, whereas the cumulative exam counted for 20%.  Low-stakes quizzes resulted in students self-reporting increased motivation to attend and prepare for the class when compared to a cumulative exam.  The majority of students (84%) rated the unannounced quizzes above the mean in terms of favorability regarding comparative aspects of the course.


The results revealed a statistically significant main effect for quizzes and attendance, suggesting that unannounced quizzes impacted study behaviors and attendance more than a cumulative exam and that the quizzes promoted attendance more so than study behavior, respectively.  The unannounced quizzes consisted of three multiple-choice questions, which made providing feedback to the students on these assessments manageable for the instructor.


From a behavioral perspective, the results of the study are in sync with human nature.  Intermittent reinforcement is the most effective way to maintain a behavior.  Thus, if students anticipate sporadic unannounced quizzes, they are likely to attend class and complete reading assignments as they prepare for each session.

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