Discussion-Based Quizzes 2

First, I hope to see folks at some of the pedagogy-oriented sessions at this week’s ISA meeting in Montreal. Feel free to chat up me or the illustrious Dr. Simon Usherwood.

Second, a follow-up to my post last month about no-stakes quizzes and class discussion.

I gave students another quiz, on survivorship bias, a topic of the reading assigned earlier in the week. Here is the prompt for the questions (note that the scenario is a fictionalized version of a famous World War II example):

The United States has gone to war against Zambia. A high percentage of U.S. warplanes are being shot down by the Zambian military. You work for the U.S. Department of Defense as an operations research analyst. You have been given the task of recommending where additional armor plating should be installed on U.S. warplanes to better protect them from enemy fire. The image below shows a representative pattern of damage from Zambian anti-aircraft fire to U.S. warplanes that have made it back to home base. 

Responses to question 1:

Responses to question 2:

Despite the tiny sample, I think the quiz scores indicate the ease of memorizing a concept’s definition while being unable to meaningfully apply it. Students frequently equate memorization with knowing and hence learning, when mostly it’s not.