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An Effective Quiz Strategy for Enhancing Student Engagement While Discouraging Academic Dishonesty
The traditional approach of giving lectures followed by homework assignments as a tool for learning, then giving quizzes as a tool for assessment does not always work as expected. Even with a modified grading policy of reducing homework credit and raising credit for quizzes, the same results were observed by the authors. In addition, many students who do not grasp the course material tend to cheat on homework assignments, quizzes and tests. Instructors usually deal with student plagiarism in a passive way by preventing it through detection and penalty strategies. This “policing” process against plagiarism requires a lot of effort by the instructor and does not necessarily attract students toward learning. Therefore, a new approach for smart utilization of quizzes was developed to improve student engagement while discouraging them from cheating on class work. The new approach focuses on assigning each student an individualized take-home quiz to be submitted by a deadline. After submitting the work, each student is required to present his/her work to class. This take-home assignment is equivalent to a homework assignment and carries its credit. As a follow up, another in-class quiz covering the same topic was given to assess students’ knowledge and skills gained from this exercise. This hybrid approach (working quiz assignment / then presenting it) was designed to allow students more time without quiz anxiety for studying and explaining their work. Students were also allowed to consult each other on how to solve their own problems without possibility of cheating from each other. Since they were required to present the problem solution, every student became more interested in understanding not only the solution approach but most importantly the concepts and how to apply them in the problem solution. Thus, the quiz became a learning opportunity for all students. Through this strategy, the instructor received more visits from students during and outside office hours. Students attended the class with more questions in mind. The instructor also noticed that the students are now competing for the instructor’s class time in order to work one-on-one to clarify issues related to their individual assignments. The preliminary results as shown by student involvement, survey results and post-quiz results are very encouraging. They indicate that this approach is very promising and is recommended by other instructors to try it and further evaluate it in their courses. Ultimately, this approach enabled the instructor to control the issue of cheating and become able to convert many students from cheaters to active learners. The quiz as a traditional assessment tool became now an effective teaching and learning tool. Students expressed their satisfaction and wished that this new strategy be implemented for other courses across the school. The implementation of this strategy required more time and effort by the instructor but it was effective in motivating students for learning and deterring them from cheating. In addition, through more interaction with the students, the instructor received better insight in their style of learning as well as their academic and non-academic weaknesses and strengths.