Instructors use quizzes for multiple purposes. Some use them weekly to ensure students read the assigned material while others have a daily quiz to take attendance.
Although we do not provide any example quizzes here, most look similar to the short answer, fill in the blank, and short essay sections found in the final exam and midterm section (see section III). Most instructors drop the lowest quiz (or more) if they give quizzes weekly or more frequently.
The following are instructions for how some instructors utilize quizzes in their E238 course. The first uses a check system which allows instructors to limit the time they spend grading, and, since the instructor only gives a quiz once a week, it gives students a random chance to be absent more than the allotted four absences (the instructor drops the four lowest quizzes in this case).
For Attendance: The policy for this class is simple—you may attend class as often as you like; however, once a week I will give a short quiz on the reading (graded with a √, √+, or, √-). You may drop four of your lowest quiz grades, but the remaining quiz grades will constitute your final attendance grade—so although you may potentially take all fourteen quizzes, only ten will ultimately count. There will not be an opportunity to retake any missed quizzes. √+'s are worth 3 points, √'s are worth 2, and √-'s are worth 1 point. To earn a √+, your response will demonstrate a careful reading of the text and a thoughtful answer to the quiz question. A √ indicates that you have read the assigned material but that your response was either too inaccurate, vague, or meager to merit a √+. Although you still receive 1 point for a √- (your reward for just showing up to class), this grade indicates that you have not read the assigned material carefully (if at all) and that your response reflects your lack of effort.
Here is another example of how an instructor uses quizzes. This instructor incorporates the quizzes with group discussions to help promote more in-depth discussion.
In class quizzes and group work (10%): Generally, I will give quizzes once a week. However, if I suspect a large percentage of the class has not completed the reading assignment, I will give an extra quiz. These will not be announced in advance. If you miss class or are tardy, do not expect to make up the quiz. You will be assigned group work approximately once a week. These group activities ask you to think critically about he assigned readings and are graded. Group assignments are part of the course work you are expected to complete. I may give a quiz on the same day group work is assigned. If you fail your quiz (59% or lower) and it is evident that you have not completed the reading assignment for the day, you may not receive credit for the group work.
Lastly, this instructor states that the frequency and number of quizzes will vary depending on the quality of classroom discussions. If the students participate in a healthy class discussion the instructor will not quiz them. If it seems as if the class did not read the material, and so cannot engage in a discussion, the instructor will reward those who did read with a high quiz score and give those who did not incentive to read for the following class periods.
Quizzes: In order to evaluate your understanding of the texts, I will give a number of unannounced quizzes throughout the course of the semester. Quizzes will be given at the beginning of the class period; no make-up quizzes will be allowed. The number of quizzes and subsequent weight of each quiz will be determined by the needs of the class – the better prepared and more active your participation in class, the fewer quizzes will be given.