First day of clickers: syllabus quiz

A few minutes after picking up their course policy handout, students work on in their first attempt at think-(pair)-share using flashcards in a classwide "syllabus quiz."

Sample questions:
1. If you had one-half of the total points for this course, your grade would be a(n):
(A) "A."
(B) "B."
(C) "C."
(D) "D."
(E) (Cannot be determined yet, as the scale for this class is curved.)
(F) "F."
(G) (I'm lost, and don't know how to answer this.)

2. How many of your lowest (or missed) quizzes are dropped?
(A) 0 (every quiz counts).
(B) 1.
(C) 2.
(D) 3.
(E) (I'm lost, and don't know how to answer this.)

3. Is partial credit possible for multiple-choice questions on quizzes/exams?
(A) Yes.
(B) No.
(C) (I'm lost, and don't know how to answer this.)

4. Is the final exam for this course comprehensive?
(A) Yes.
(B) No.
(C) (I'm lost, and don't know how to answer this.)

5. Are there extra-credit points?
(A) Yes.
(B) No.
(C) (I'm lost, and don't know how to answer this.)
Responses to the first few questions are scattered, resulting in a second think-pair-share pass to reach a consensus. Eventually students become familiarized enough with the course policy handout to answer the last few questions correctly by acclamation, rather than going through the use of flashcards. Mission accomplished.

G. Brissenden, E. E. Prather, T. F. Slater, "What 'Makes the Grade'? Bridging the Gap Between Instructor and Student Expectations," Center for Astronomy Education Teaching Strategy, October 2006.
"If we want our students to value, and understand the contents of, our syllabus, it is our responsibility to hold the students accountable for the contents in a real way... This is where the Syllabus Quiz comes in... This lets your students know in a very real way to them--their grade--that you are holding them accountable for understanding the syllabus."
P. H. Raymark, P. A. Connor-Greene, "The Syllabus Quiz," Teaching of Psychology, vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 286-288, 2002.
"...it is our experience that many students continue to ask questions throughout the semester about policies and procedures that are clearly addressed in the course syllabus. Not only do students often fail to retain syllabus information; many appear to forget to use the syllabus as a resource for locating this material."
      "...the potential benefits of a syllabus quiz are limited to those students who take the quiz seriously and answer the questions correctly. Thus, instructors who are interested in using a syllabus quiz should consider ways that make it more likely that students will take the quiz seriously. For example, an instructor may limit credit to those students who get the entire quiz correct. Or, an instructor may make the syllabus quiz part of the course requirements, rather than extra credit. In summary, a properly administered syllabus quiz can be a creative way to encourage students to read the syllabus, and in doing so, facilitate their orientation to class policies, processes, and procedures."
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