One tool becoming more common, especially in online education, is quizzes. They help with concentration, identify gaps in knowledge, build confidence and help children retain information. What's more - they're fun!
In the world of education there are many different ways to teach and to consolidate what has been learned. In years gone by, children were expected to memorise dates, formulae and figures by rote. But this method of teaching can be quite dull, to say the least! One tool becoming more common, especially in online education, is quizzes. In this guide we’ll find out the many reasons why quizzes are valuable in learning.
With quizzes so popular, is there any evidence to suggest that they really are valuable in a child’s education? Well, yes – ask any teacher! In classrooms up and down the land teachers set their students tests and quizzes to help them learn. All those teachers can’t be wrong! The value of tests and quizzes is unquestionable.
There are many reasons why quizzes help children to learn. We’ve gathered together 12 of them which we’ll look at in slightly more detail in this article. Let’s visit each in turn:
When you’re playing a quiz you have to keep your mind on what you are doing. This means that quizzes do help children concentrate. Reading from textbooks often fails to grab our attention. The mind wanders and information is not taken in.
Most children find that quizzes are fun. One of our competitors in online learning is IXL and they sum it up beautifully with the words, ‘Practise that feels like play’. Of all the online education sites, most make use of quizzes as a way to make learning fun.
It’s a well-known fact that retrieval aids retention (Roediger, Psychology of Learning and Motivation). Reading information as a way of learning does have its uses. But reading information and then taking a quiz is much more effective. Forcing your brain to retrieve data ensures that it becomes ‘embedded’ for use in the future. So, yes, quizzes do help us retain information.
As quizzes help to embed information in our brains, this provides a firm foundation for the next stage of learning. Take maths as an example – once something is mastered by making use of quizzes (methods of multiplication say) then this will help to support any future, more advanced learning (like algebra). Quizzes can help to prepare children for the next stage in their education and help the learning process.
How well do you know a subject? The quickest way to find out is to play a quiz! Any questions you answer incorrectly, immediately show you where your knowledge is lacking. In the case of students, quizzes identify gaps in knowledge and highlight any areas that need more revision.
You know what it’s like – listening to the teacher explain something to the class and expecting the students to remember what they said. Quizzes, on the other hand, present information from a different perspective. Looking at things from a different angle often helps us to understand it better.
School tests can be an anxious experience for children. They often worry how well they will do, how their results compare to those of their friends or what the teacher will think of them. Playing quizzes at home is much less stressful and provides a means to test ourselves. This can be particularly useful for shy or introverted children who rarely raise their hand in class for fear of getting the answer wrong and making a fool of themselves. Quizzes are a stress-free way to learn.
Do you ever watch ‘Mastermind’ or ‘University Challenge’? If so, you’ll know the feeling you get when you answer a question correctly - an adrenaline rush that provides instant gratification. Playing quizzes makes children feel good and so, makes them enthusiastic to play more. The more often they play, the more they will learn.
I remember, back at school, our maths teacher asking ‘what is the average number of children in a family?’ I raised my hand and answered ‘2.5’, which was the wrong answer, and the class roared with laughter (‘How can someone have half a child?’ they said). The actual answer was 2.4 but this experience put me off answering questions in front of others. If you are playing a quiz, no one will criticise you for getting an answer wrong. Instead, a wrong answer will instil the right answer in your memory. Quizzes are not critical of children – they never scold or make fun of you.
Imagine, the first time you play a quiz you get 4 out of 10 right. So, you try to remember the answers and play it again. This time you get 8 out of 10. The more often you play quizzes the better you get at them and the more you know. Looking back over online quiz records and seeing how much they’ve improved, gives a student the confidence to know they are progressing. So, yes, quizzes do build confidence.
Few of us enjoy exams but, like it or not, they’re here to stay. To prepare for exams it’s good to test yourself on the subject. The more students play quizzes the better equipped they become for quickly recalling the information required to answer examination questions. Another yes - quizzes can prepare children for exams.
Imagine it’s the history exam tomorrow and you want to revise. You could read through your history textbook and hope to remember everything. Or, you could play quizzes on the topics you’ve studied. These will help you revise the key points and are much more likely to help you remember than mere reading. Remember, quizzes help us to concentrate and keep our minds from wandering so they can, and do, help with revision.
So, in answer to the question ‘Why are quizzes valuable in education’ we’ve come up with a dozen reasons. Together, I think these prove it’s beyond a doubt that quizzes really do help children to learn. To see for yourself, try a free quiz and make up your own mind.
Now you’ve learned the value of quizzes in education, perhaps you have more questions. If so, the EQ Knowledge Bank is the place for you! It has many articles which aim to provide parents with answers to education questions, from the purpose of Ofsted to the best methods of revision. We also have useful tips for parenting where you’ll find ideas for school holidays and advice on dealing with bullies. It’s a mine of useful information!