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4 Ways Adaptive Quizzing Can Drive Learning

15 January, 2020

Adaptive quizzing is a fairly recent evolution in the realm of academic testing methods.

Using algorithms, these tests can be tailored to the actual level of subject mastery of an individual.

This represents a significant improvement over the traditional one-size-fits-all testing methodology and confers several unique benefits.

Adaptive quizzing is a fairly recent evolution in the realm of academic testing methods.

Using algorithms, these tests can be tailored to the actual level of subject mastery of an individual. This represents a significant improvement over the traditional one-size-fits-all testing methodology and confers several unique benefits.

How Do They Work?

If you are thinking of adaptive quizzes as branching variants of old school text-based quizzes, think again. Harnessing the increased availability of technology in the classroom and at home, educational videos have become a go-to tool in all areas of learning.

For children, in particular, educational videos have been shown to offer benefits to their cognitive development. Visual and aural stimulation, paired with the introduction of new concepts, helps children to develop a more robust thinking process. Video communication is also more memorable. Students demonstrate increased rates of retention when receiving information via videos versus text or even lectures.

Adaptive quizzes harness these benefits and augment them by making each video an individualized experience for the viewer. The lessons will be presented in sections covering particular concepts. At the ends of these sections, short quizzes will be presented. The students answers will determine the next section of the video.`

For example, if the student answers all questions correctly, they have demonstrated a high level of mastery over the subject matter. The next lesson shown in this case will cover a new concept building upon the previous one.
On the other hand, if the student is unable to answer the questions, the next lesson shown will attempt to address their areas of trouble by reviewing the previous concept.

This process can be fine-tuned further, to a question to question basis. A string of correct answers will lead to the quiz ending after only a few questions, whereas a wrong answer immediately triggers a different question more in line with the students demonstrated understanding.

4 Benefits of Adaptive Quizzing


The point of this method is to find the level of understanding and concept mastery a student has, then educate them from that level. The benefits to this method are myriad, but here are 4 that are key among them.

Increased Confidence

Traditional test methods are famed for the high levels of stress they generate in many students.

There is an understanding that the test will judge the individual against a rigid standard of progress that does not take into account any variations in learning ability or teaching methods. This is particularly true of standardized tests. With adaptive quizzing, the experience is far different. The hopeless experience of encountering questions after the unanswerable questions are eliminated. A wrong answer leads to a question that the student does know the answer to. Instead of being made to feel that they have learned nothing, what they have learned is highlighted, and this encourages them to synthesize the understood parts into a comprehensive whole.

Efficiency

The traditional group testing process, by its nature, does not serve anyone well. Advanced students are held back while struggling students are overwhelmed. Even the number of questions on the test can be a problem. A student who can demonstrate a full understanding ofa concept in 20 questions will quickly become bored and disengaged with a system that makes her answer 100. Conversely, giving a struggling student only 10 questions to express their knowledge of a subject can be harmfully unfair.

The adaptive quizzing process only asks the number of questions needed to prove a clear understanding on the part of the student. This means everyone moves at the pace that is comfortable to them.

Involvement

In most cases, instructors conceive of, construct, and administer tests. These tests are based on a curriculum prepared before a single student has even enrolled in the class. Good teachers may identify a need to change tests based on the overall class performance, or even grade on a curve, but this is hardly consistent. Meanwhile, students simply take the test, with no direct input of any kind. This leads to the common feeling of tests being inflicted upon the takers. Adaptive quizzes, by contrast, involve the student. Not only are the questions themselves gradually better tailored to the taker, but the student begins by submitting their perceived mastery of a subject. The test starts out at the level the taker believes they are prepared for. In many cases, they can even specify how many questions they want to have per test. This level of participation creates a more meaningful relationship between the student and their own education.

Targeted Assistance

When a student fails a test, it can be difficult to know exactly why this occurred. Answering acomplex question incorrectly does not always mean that a person completely lacks anunderstanding of the underlying concepts. However traditional tests offer no mechanism by which a teacher can pinpoint exactly which bits and pieces are most obstructing a student'sability to grasp a subject.
Adaptive quizzes eliminate the guesswork. Questions become more granular, testing student knowledge on the components of a troubling concept. The resulting scores make it far easier for an instructor to determine what the problem is, and to address it.

Conclusion

Adaptive quizzing is a boon for both students and teachers. While it may not make sense, or be possible, to use it in all instances, it is an effective partner to traditional testing methods. Students who perform well on adaptive quizzes improve their scores on other types of tests, and¡ when asked, demonstrate a preference for this new type of learning.

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