Unannounced quizzes: A teaching and learning initiative that enhances academic performance and lecture attendance in large undergraduate classes
Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences
School of Management, IT and Governance, University of KwaZulu-Natal, P Bag X01, Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Without a doubt, lecture non-attendance is a growing trend at tertiary institutions. Many academics confront this challenge by implementing different teaching initiatives that encourage lecture attendance. However, lecture attendance does not necessarily mean that learning is taking place. Therefore, the aim of this study was to establish whether the use of unannounced quizzes improves class attendance, the module pass rate and academic performance in a large undergraduate class at a university in South Africa. This is an exploratory study which adopted a mixed method research approach to collect data over a period of two semesters during the 2012 academic year. The three data sources used include observations, a questionnaire survey and the university student data base. Descriptive statistics and content analysis were used to analyse data. The findings reveal that the use of unannounced quizzes has merit; significant positive effects were seen in all three areas-class attendance, module pass rate and students’ academic performance. The study contributes to the field of teaching and learning in three ways, by: (1) exploring a teaching and learning initiative that encourages class attendance; (2) responding to a call for new thinking about how universities could increase their throughput ratio; and (3) possibly reviving future debate about how to effectively impact knowledge creation in a large class situation. © MCSER-Mediterranean Center of Social and Educational Research.