True Or False: Quizzes Are Bad For Students.

A Quiz on Quizzes

True/False: Please mark A for True and B for False

  1. David Theriault used to give bi-weekly quizzes that were really difficult but he believed they helped his students learn vocabulary, helped students read the required reading, and helped them pay more attention in class.
  2. Over half of David’s CP students would fail the quiz, and over half of David’s honors students would score a C or lower, but David considered this a feature since the students would try harder on their projects and writing.  
  3. David also loved quizzes because students would grade them in class so he could tell himself they were doing “checks for understanding” while saving himself the work of grading.
  4. Students did better and better on the quizzes as the year went and reluctantly admitted that they were the most important part of the class.
  5. Three years ago David quit giving the bi-weekly quizzes and replaced them with Family Fridays.


  1. This is a picture of:

Jon C Quiz

A. A former Division 1 football player who played nose tackle at 165 lbs B. An inspirational man giving a keynote to the entire FVHS teaching staff about The End Of Average, the power of formative quizzes, and #EDUprotocols
C. Jon Corippo: The Executive Director of CUE, one of the few “admins” I know who is still a daily instructional leader. D. All of the above


  1. Please choose which answer is the wrong answer.


A. David Theriault bought this book in 2016 at Powell’s City Of Book in Portland B. A book The New York Times called “a welcome rejoinder to the notion that learning is all about the hours put in.”
C. A book that backs up its ideas with over 142 referenced studies. ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY TWO! How many references did you see in the last EDU consultant’s presentation? D. A book I don’t need, since my teacher credential program had a specific class on the most effective pedagogic practices when it came to testing and quizzes and how students learn.  

Matching: Please match the right answer to the correct topic.

8. A Quiz or Test AB. Jo Boaler advocates changing our practices from “assessment of learning” to “assessment for learning” in chapter 5 of What’s Math Got to Do With It? (2008) and mentions a study (Butler 1988) on assessing student work in three different ways: using feedback, using grades, or using both. The students who received only comments significantly increased their performance, whereas, surprisingly, the students who received both grades and comments did as poorly as those who received only grades without any comments on their work. Black and Wiliam (1998) report that checking in regularly on students’ understanding is more helpful than an end-of-unit summary of mastery.
9. The importance of ungraded quizzes BC. This activity alters what we remember and changes how we subsequently organize that knowledge in our minds. It does so in ways that greatly improve later performance.
10. Quizizz DE. One of many free online tools that can help teachers quickly and effectively use the magic of ungraded testing to improve student learning.

Answer key found at the bottom of this blog post.


How We Learn 

If I were a Director of Curriculum of a district, I would buy a copy of How We Learn by Benedict Carey for every one of my TOSAs. If I were a principal I’d buy a copy for every department chair, or every teacher leader on my campus. Then I’d read each chapter and see what we could shift or change on our campus. Just one chapter was more than I learned in my entire teaching credential regarding how students really learn.

  • Pretesting, done correctly, increases “successful retrieval attempts on subsequent tests.”
  • The soul of self-examination is to “pretend and perform” just one reason why the Spring game is important for the new varsity players in football.
  • Varied practice is more effective than focused practice. Stop doing the same thing again and again. Embrace “team random.”
  • Study aids or study guides can create “fluency illusions.”

These are just a few of the ideas in the book. Go buy it and shift your approach to learning.

Henry L. Roediger III 

In an article from 2014, The Atlantic shares with us the work of cognitive psychologist Dr. Roediger, in the video below he presents ten benefits to testing and their applications to educational practice.

  1. Testing aids later retention.
  2. Testing identifies gaps in knowledge.
  3. Testing causes students to learn more from the next learning episode.
  4. Testing produces better organization of knowledge.
  5. Testing improves transfer of knowledge to new concepts.
  6. Testing can facilitate retrieval of information that was not tested.
  7. Testing improves metacognitive monitoring.
  8. Testing prevents interference from prior material when learning new material.
  9. Testing provides feedback to instructors.
  10. Frequent testing encourages students to study

“In the end, tests may just hold the key to our educational success—as long as educators are willing to commit the time and effort required to design tests that foster learning rather than impede it. It’s time to stop teaching to the test, because if done properly, teaching is the test.”


And that’s the problem. Creating quizzes and looking at the results takes time. Luckily, I knew someone who cares about saving time and helping teachers and students: Jon Corippo. Even more luckily, I got to cross-off a bucket list item by having him keynote our semester break professional learning day at Fountain Valley High School.

While I knew about the power of quizzes to help student learning, I needed a nudge. Jon’s high energy approach nudged not just me but others. He used an app called Quizizz with our entire staff. We all took out our phones and took a quiz on Nintendo. Then went over some of the questions and took it again. He was able to deliver and have “students” assess their success in seconds. BOOM! Mission accomplished.

So I took it to my classroom and gave it a whirl. After taking two quizzes on irony the assessment results looked like this:


But what did students think of Quizizz?


  • Love the calm music.
  • Love that it’s self-paced. No more waiting for students to finish to move onto the next question.
  • Memes! (1) (more on that later)
  • Love that it’s novel or new (2) (more on that later)
  • Less pressure than Kahoot since you go at your own pace.
  • Great for students with poor eyesight. Instead of looking at one screen, they look at their device.
  • Love that you can review the questions after the quiz is done.
  • LOVED that they don’t have to download another app. They can’t but you can just do this in a web browser on their phone or a Chromebook.

Requests for the Quizziz team: 

  • Students like how Kahoot has different colors and shapes for the answer choices. They want this for Quizziz.
  • The website crashes more often than the app. It kicks students off the Quizziz.
  • The memes go away too fast. You don’t have time to read them.
  • Some students want to pick their own characters or make them with bitmojis.
  • Give us the ability to lock the top of the screen so you can scroll down while playing.
  • Maybe just show the top 10 or top 5- would it be better to hide the leaderboard? Does that get distracting and take away from the learning?

As a teacher I would like to point out a few things. First, the quiz creation tool is the easiest thing I’ve ever used. Completely intuitive. Zero looking at a user guide. You can put pictures into quizzes. There is a ton of possibility here. And it works. Not just for me.

quiz 1

A few days ago I was speaking to one of my co-workers Mr. Yarnton an excellent Spanish teacher at FVHS. While we were talking he brought up Jon’s keynote. Todd has always used quizzes in his Spanish class. My son loved that Mr. Yarnton would allow his students to retake quizzes as many times as they wanted to try and improve their grade. Todd then told me that he decided to INCREASE his use of quizzes. He used Quizizz like Jon talked about and told me that his students’ grade went up way more than he though they would. He was pretty stoked that Jon shared his “The Fast And The Curious” approach to learning. But that’s not even my favorite part. Want to know what is?


But my favorite, my absolute FAVORITE thing about Quizizz is that you can create your own memes for wrong and right answers. You don’t HAVE to create them. They have libraries of memes you can learn, but seriously?! I get to make MEMES (1)! Here are some I made for my first quiz. Honestly I wish I could be paid to do this. Oh wait….

quiz 2

A company that’s playful, that has a sense of humor, that encourages YOU to have a sense of humor? Sign me UP! I wish more companies were like this. I wish my CanvasLMS was more playful. I wish they had a toggle switch that made my Canvas class FUN and random maybe like a life-long kindergarten class.  PS you can share the memes.

Memes are great. They are like dad giving you chocolate cake. The problem with chocolate cake is that you have have too much. No seriously. If you eat cake for every meal you will eventually start to hate cake. I saw this when Kahoot first hit our campus. You could hear the Kahoot music up and down the halls. Students started dreading it.

That can and will happen with Quizizz. You must NOT let that happen.

  1. Mix things up. In How We Learn there is an entire chapter devoted to the power of mixing things up. Don’t kill Quizizz by doing it every day or several times a week.
  2. Don’t kill Quizizz by making boring quizizz. Find ways to include something random and fun into your quizizz. Maybe make yourself into a meme.
  3. Let students create the quizizz.
  4. Use other quiz tools sometimes like Socrative.

Thanks for reading. Good luck on your final exam. I think you’ve got this… the answers are just a Google search or hallway conversation away.


1 T 2. T. 3. T 4. F 5. T 6. D 7. D. 8. BC 9. AB 10. DE

There is no grade, just a sense of accomplishment for getting this far. I’m proud of your perseverance.

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