American Sociological Association

An Assessment of Student Perceptions and Responses to Frequent Low-stakes Testing in Introductory Sociology Classes

Common concerns for many instructors of introductory college courses are that their students do not prepare for or attend class, are minimally engaged, and exhibit poor reading comprehension and writing skills. How can instructors respond to these challenges? Research finds that frequent testing improves the learning outcomes of students. Can it motivate better studying habits and expand their engagement with the class? This article assesses an experimental design comparing student perceptions and responses to low-stakes, daily written exams versus dispersed, high-stakes major exams in two introductory sociology classes. The objective of the experimental design was to test how daily exams incentivize compliance with assigned readings and class attendance as well as enhance students’ experience and engagement within the class. My findings suggest that low-stakes frequent exams are a more effective method to generate these outcomes compared to infrequent high-stakes exams.


Schrank, Z.





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