From Multiple-Choice to Cooperative Learning: A No-Prep Activity to Try Today!

Cooperative learning activity to use with multiple choice tests

After reading a novel or chapter, I used to assess my
students’ understanding with a quick, multiple-choice test. It was an easy way
to quickly assess (and quickly grade) student learning, but it didn’t really
engage my students in active learning.

Then I tried something new.

I still assigned the same multiple-choice test to my
students, but I had my students complete the test in small groups. In addition
to answering each question, I also required them to cite textual evidence that
supported the answer they selected, so it was an open-book task. I told them
that they were not allowed to guess on the assignment; they had to work
together to complete the assignment.

The results were amazing!

The prep work was minimal (if anything).

The students had fun, were engaged, and learned to work together.

Cooperative learning activity to use with multiple choice testsNot only did the students collaborate to complete the task,
the discussion that this activity generated was amazing. My freshmen were
debating which answer was the correct one, and they did so by providing textual
evidence to back up their answers. It was real, authentic learning.

The best part of the activity is that every single group
scored very well. In fact, most of the groups earned 100% on the tests.

So dig through your old filing cabinets. Dig through your friend’s old filing cabinets. Find any old multiple-choice tests you can, and
assign them to groups to complete. The results will wow you, and this will
become an activity that your students look forward to!



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