Four types of online quiz and how to use them

Quizzes aren’t just for testing knowledge. They also encourage students to recall their course material, apply it and reflect on the feedback they’re given, whichin turn prompts learning. This is known as the testing effect’ and there’s plenty of research (including a paper by Roediger and Karpicke (2006)) that explores it.

Use our quick tips to explore how quizzes can build understanding and when to use a quiz for maximum impact.

  1. Diagnostic quizzes
    Include a diagnostic quiz at the start of your course to give students the opportunity to self-assess their skills and knowledge. You can use feedback to prompt students to reflect on whether they’re ready for the course, which topics they might want to review and/or to direct them to preparation materials.
  2. Consolidation quizzes
    Use consolidation quizzes at the end of blocks of study to prompt students to review on the material they’ve covered. You can also use them to break up material into small chunks, providing students with an opportunity to think back on a recent topic.  You should aim to give formative feedback (feedback that prompts students reflect on their learning and redirects them to materials they need to review). Consolidation quizzes should be low stakes: their aim is to encourage students to think about their learning, not to assess their knowledge formally.
  3. Formative assessment
    Use formative quizzes as part of your assessment strategy. Like consolidation quizzes, they’re designed to check students’ understanding and provide formative feedback, but unlike consolidation quizzes, they focus on evaluating students’progress towards the course learning outcomes rather than a section of material. Consider keeping them low- or no stakes to encourage students to benefit from reflecting on their progress without being penalised.
  4. Summative assessment
    Summative assessments are end-of-course quizzes or assessments that check whether students have reached the learning outcomes. As with other kinds of quiz, it’s important to provide feedback – especially as students may not engage with this material again for a while. Make sure feedback addresses any misconceptions and signposts to other helpful material.