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True/False Quiz on Course Topics

This material was originally created for On the Cutting Edge: Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty
and is replicated here as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service.
Kathy Surpless, Stanford University
Course: Fundamentals of Geology
70 students
Surveying students to assess their prior knowledge can help you to figure out how much time you'll need to spend teaching various concepts.

The Activity

I have students individually complete a T/F quiz with statements relating to many of the topics we'll cover in the course. After a few minutes, I have students work with a partner to check their answers and discuss any that they disagree about. Finally, I use the quiz and a slide show to introduce topics that will be covered in the course.

The whole exercise takes about 20 minutes, has students actively doing something (I use activities frequently and want them to get used to the idea), and gives me a sense of the background students have coming into the course (the quizzes are, of course, ungraded, but I do collect them to review what people missed).