By Anna Lawson
“Okay class, clear your desks and take out a pencil. It’s time for a pop quiz.” A feeling of stress and anxiety spreads across the room. Oh no, how much will this lower my grade? Do I understand this topic? Didn’t we just learn this yesterday? Almost every student has endured a pop quiz at least once in their life, and I think it is fair to say that every student dislikes them. Rather than helping students further their knowledge in a subject, as they were originally intended to do, pop quizzes only add stress to already anxious students. If there is a widespread feeling of antipathy towards pop quizzes, why do we still have them?
There are numerous problems with pop quizzes, one of which being that both students and teachers live extremely busy lives. I can say from personal experience that high school students have homework piled on them constantly. The average student has at least two to three hours of homework per night, but in most cases the number can increase to five or six. Time for homework combined with sports, extracurriculars, jobs, time with family, and sleep leave little time to study information that you may be tested on the next day. In addition, teachers have hours of grading to do every week, so why add an extra quiz to their workload?
Although some teachers believe pop quizzes are a necessary step to ensure that their students understand the topic, the idea of a gratuitous quiz is simply not fair. Jasmine Daniel, a Glenelg Junior, says that “there have been times when I fully understand a topic after about twenty minutes of studying, but instead I’m given a random pop quiz on a subject that I have not gotten the chance to comprehend or ask questions about.” This common trend leads to a decrease in a student’s grades.
When a teacher warns students about a quiz, students automatically begin asking questions, rereading classwork or the textbook, or going in for extra help. All three of these actions actually help the student learn the topic so that they can have a fair chance when being tested.
An announcement of a pop quiz leads to a quick two-minute cram before the quiz is placed on your desk. Although a student might remember the information short-term, they will most likely not actually learn the topic in order to be able to remember the subject for the future. Glenelg Junior Devin Henley recounts a time that “[he] had a pop quiz on a topic [he] didn’t understand, so [he] studied the information right after [he] found out about the quiz, in order to get a decent grade.” Even today, he is still confused regarding the content on that quiz. This common occurrence must come to an end if teachers want students to properly learn and retain information.