Weekly Low Stake Online Quizzes: A Predictor of Student Learning and Course Outcomes?

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William Ju and Jessica Pressey


CJH332 – Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology of the Synapse
Human Biology Program
Faculty of Arts and Science

Poster and Video Presentation – Teaching and Learning Symposium, May 2021

Design Context

Cluster analysis of student performance on small stakes assignments to predict testing performance in upper year biology based courses.

Instructional Challenge

Small stake quizzes are often used to assess mastery of core concepts as well as progress through a course. Can analysis of how students interact with small-stake quizzes inform their final performance in a course and possible interventions?

Design Strategy

Various student cohorts in 2 courses (CJH332 and BIO271) were given low stakes weekly quizzes with unlimited attempts. We used cluster analysis to differentiate how students interacted with these quizzes and correlated these data with their performance on tests and final assessments.

Use of Data to Inform Design Iteration and Instruction

Cluster analysis revealed that how students interact with these quizzes correlate with their final outcomes in a course. These data showed that there are 3 clusters of students who interact with these low stake assignments and that intervention may be possible (i.e., for groups that do not seem to engage early, to provide additional time and supports). Future courses and sections will make use of this data to ensure that early identification of these clusters might require earlier interventions.

Next Steps

Can this correlational study be expanded to other courses and other sectoral disciplines with large courses? If successful, how can correlating early engagement/small scale success lead to the development of effective student intervention strategies?


Presented at the Teaching and Learning Symposium, May 2021.

Click to download poster PDF in a new tab

Presentation Video