Farewell UW!

I have accepted a teaching position at the University of Southern California starting in Fall 2018. I’m sad to leave UW, but am looking forward to working with the Department of Chemistry at USC. If you are looking to reach me after my departure from UW, my email is uwjrbchem at gmail.com.

Why I give group quizzes…

I’ve had a few students complain about the group quiz aspect of my organic chemistry course. I wanted to give a little background on why I give group quizzes and what I expect you to get out of them. Many students feel that the primary purpose of the quiz is to test what you know, but this is not correct. The primary purpose of the quiz is to communicate what you know, to be challenged on it, and to defend your understanding. This process has a better long-term impact for you than simply spitting out right or wrong answers on a quiz – a mini-exam, so to speak. Quizzes are a low stakes way for you to talk about and test what you know. You may wonder why they are graded, then, if the purpose is to talk about the subject. In the past, ungraded work in quiz section leads to unprepared students in quiz section. I’ve found, through experience and feedback from students, that having a graded component meant students prepared for the quizzes more than if they were just worksheets.

Research on group quizzing suggests the following benefits:

*Improved individual test scores
*Increased retention of the material
*Reduced anxiety commonly associated with taking a test
*Increased positive relationships between students
*Improved student perception of the course
*Increased motivation to study
*Decreased class dropout rates

The real benefit from group quizzing will likely show up later in the course and beyond – higher midterm scores than if you had taken individual quizzes, and an increased ability to communicate and possibly convince your classmates and coworkers of your knowledge.