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Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Resources


To find journal articles on teaching and learning, visit the MCC LibGuide.


To Quiz or Not To Quiz: Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) Discussion Group Summary

At our SOTL meeting, we focused on a research article on the power of testing which was addressed by Dr. Todd Zakrajsek during our Faculty Professional Day keynote presentation in August.  Below is the citation, key points from the article and ideas about how to put this research into action in our classrooms.

Roediger, H. L., & Karpicke, J. D. (2006).  The power of testing memory:  Basic research and implicationsfor educational practice.  Perspectiveson Psychological Science, 1(3), 181-210.

For a copy of the article, e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit the library databases.

Summary of Key Findings: Based on research findings discussed in Roediger and Karpicke (2006). 


The act of retrieval is not just an assessment method but a memory strategy that is quite powerful!

Reciting what you learn is more powerful than reading material

The sooner a first test is given, the better the performance on future tests.

Testing your knowledge is more effective than engaging in further studying.  Students who engaged in a Study, Test,
Test, Test process retained much more information one week later than students who engaged in Study, Study, Study, Test or Study, Study, Study, Study processes.

Students who engage in the Study, Study, Study, Study process are more confident with their ability to perform well even though they don’t perform as well as those who incorporate testing into the process.

Taking multiple tests was connected to higher levels of performance on future test.

Quizzing, especially frequent quizzing, was connected to higher final exam grades.

Short answer or other recall processes were more powerful than multiple choice, a recognition test, in terms of retaining the information learned.

Feedback on performance is important.

Testing on all information rather than on “missed questions” was more effective.


Putting Research into Action:  Suggested Teaching Strategies.  Here are some of the ideas that were generated at our

Incorporate retrieval processes into the classroom

Start each class with a short answer question.  Students can write the answer to the question or talk with another classmate about the answer.  Review the answer as a large group.

Begin each class with students talking to a classmate about what they remember from the prior class or reading for this week (books and notebooks closed).  After a couple of minutes, students can look at notes to see if any concepts were missed.

Stop at least once or twice a class to have students recall and retrieve information they just learned.  For example, tell a classmate what you just learned.  This can be a very brief 2 minute activity (1 minute per person in each pair).  Or have students write down key points they learned.

Stop at least once or twice and ask students to answer a quiz question.  This can be done in large group (show of hands for each multiple choice answer option), individually (writing answer down), or in small groups (discussing the answer).

Incorporate quizzing into the syllabus

Give a quiz or test very early on- maybe even in the first week.

Give frequent quizzes (use on-line systems such as Campus Cruiser if you don’t want to use class time) and allow students to see the correct response (after testing session is closed).

Use publisher supplied student support sites to assign regular “homework” that focuses on retrieval process

     Articles Discussed at Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) Discussion Group  2012

    Berry, T., Cook, L., Hill, N., & Stevens, K. (2011). An exploratory analysis of textbook usage and studyhabits: Misperceptions and barriers to success. College Teaching, 59(1), 31-39. doi:10.1080/87567555.2010.509376
    Hardin, E. E. (2007). Technology in teaching- Presentation software in the college classroom: Don't forget the instructor. Teaching Of Psychology, 34(1), 53-57. doi:10.1207/s15328023top3401_13
    Roediger, H. L., & Karpicke, J. D. (2006).  The power of testing memory:  Basic research and implications for educational practice.  Perspectives on Psychological Science, 1(3), 181-210.
    Shimazoe, J., & Aldrich, H. (2010). Group work can be gratifying: Understanding and overcoming resistance to cooperative learning. College Teaching, 58(2), 52-57. doi:10.1080/8756755090341859