Reading quizzes improve exam scores for community college students

Pamela Pape-Lindstrom, Sarah Eddy, Scott Freeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


To test the hypothesis that adding course structure may encourage self-regulated learning skills resulting in an increase in student exam performance in the community college setting, we added daily preclass online, open-book reading quizzes to an introductory biology course. We compared three control terms without reading quizzes and three experimental terms with online, open-book reading quizzes; the instructor of record, class size, and instructional time did not vary. Analyzing the Bloom’s taxonomy level of a random sample of exam questions indicated a similar cognitive level of high-stakes assessments across all six terms in the study. To control for possible changes in student preparation or ability over time, we calculated each student’s grade point average in courses other than biology during the term under study and included it as a predictor variable in our regression models. Our final model showed that students in the experimental terms had significantly higher exam scores than students in the control terms. This result shows that online reading quizzes can boost achievement in community college students. We also comment on the importance of discipline-based education research in community college settings and the structure of our community college/4-year institution collaboration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberar21
JournalCBE life sciences education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

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