Online learning environments in higher education (such as our learning management system, Canvas) offer increased opportunities for delivering formative assessments to measure student learning. In particular, the use of self-grading quizzes can provide students with immediate feedback to assess their knowledge, potentially promoting greater self-regulation of learning strategies and better performance in the course. These assessments also aid the instructor in identifying gaps in understanding, which in turn may inform modifications to instruction.

Read below about how some of our SESP instructors have used self-graded quizzes in Canvas for formative assessments:

Elizabeth Ananat (Economics of Social Policy)

Elizabeth Ananat, a visiting professor, was asked to teach Economics of Social Policy (Soc Pol 330), an undergraduate course that examines the theoretical frameworks and empirical tools economists use in analyzing public policy issues. One of the challenges Ananat faced in teaching this particular course was confirming that students had a grasp of the mathematical principles behind these theories so that they could discuss the applications and implications more broadly. Ananat created short quizzes (3-4 questions) for students to complete before each class meeting so that she would have insight into which topics required the most review or attention. These quizzes were graded so students were incentivized to complete them on time, but held little weight in the overall course grade (10%), meaning students could quickly test their own knowledge in a low-stakes environment. The results from these quizzes provided Ananat with insight as to which topics were the most confusing or challenging to her students so that she could spend more time reviewing those issues in-class.

Jill Gerber (Family Development)

Jill Gerber, lecturer in the undergraduate program, was looking for ways to ensure students would come to class prepared to discuss the readings. By implementing short, self-graded quizzes, she has been able to hold students accountable and determine who is prepared before each class session begins. Gerber uses a combination of publisher-provided and self-created quiz questions to highlight the key takeaways from each chapter, helping provide students with a framework for connecting the readings to topics covered in class.

Kristin Lems & Tenena Soro (Foundations of Learning a New Language)

Similarly to Gerber (above), Kristin Lems & Tenena Soro utilize quizzes with their students to help confirm understanding of the main concepts in their textbook. Students are allowed multiple attempts to complete each quiz, and if they get a question incorrect they are provided with a “hint” of where in the text they can find the answer. These quizzes help students identify concepts with which they might be struggling and provide opportunities to review the material before being held accountable for the knowledge in a higher-stakes assessment.

An easy way to integrate self-grading quizzes in your own course is by using the Quiz feature in Canvas. The tool allows for a variety of question types and quizzes can be either graded or ungraded. For more details about the options available to you and instructions for setting up quizzes within Canvas, please see the Canvas Instructor Guide.