Another recent study, this one of 901 students in a Psychology 301 at the University of Texas, was reported on in The New York Times (20/11/13 Benedict Carey, “Frequent Tests Can Enhance College Learning, Study Finds”). Students were asked to bring laptops to each class, and a short quiz was given at he start of each class throughout the semester. In place of a final exam, the course grade was calculated from an average of all of the quizzes. The quizzes were personalized: seven of the questions were given to all students, while the final question was specifically tailored to each student— generally repeating a question which that student had gotten wrong in a past quiz.
Not only did the daily quizzes improve class attendance, but the experimental class outperformed previous Psychology 301 classes. Attendance which had hovered at 60% in the past, was at 90% in the experimental class. Improvement as particularly marked aong minority students in the experimental class.
The authors of the study said, “… (when students) fail a midterm they think it is a fluke. By the time they fail the second one, it’s too late. The hole is too deep. The quizzes make it impossible to maintain that state of denial.”
Frequent quizzes also reinforce regular student habits.