Should MCPS allow pop quizzes?

In a stressful world of SAT, ACT, HSA, IB, and AP testing, the last thing that any high school student wants to hear are the words “pop quiz.”  The term breeds fear and annoyance in many students, so should MCPS allow pop quizzes?

The complaints that students have are not completely unwarranted. Students often argue that pop quizzes are not representative of how well they know the material.

“The problem with pop quizzes is that students don’t have time to study and properly show their intelligence,” said sophomore Sebastian Arizpe.

Senior Sonia Postolache also chimed in: “I think pop quizzes are very unfair to students because they have a lot of things on their plate, and there may be days where they got little sleep the night before and are less focused in class. Therefore, they would perform poorly on a pop quiz on that day.”

However, people tend to overplay the negatives and ignore the benefits of pop quizzes. Though not perfect, pop quizzes can be a good way for teachers to see whether or not students are truly focusing on the material.

Magnet English 10 teacher Mr. Oakes agrees: “I do think MCPS should allow pop quizzes, particularly in situations where students should have read the chapters and didn’t. I think it holds [students] accountable.”

Pop quizzes are not only beneficial to teachers, but to students as well. They motivate students to pay attention to the lessons and fully participate in class.

Pop quizzes are often an expected surprise, since in many classes students know that they will eventually have one, but they do not know when. This knowledge makes some students more alert and more likely to be prepared for the coursework.

Sophomore Lucas Frassrand said, “I think pop quizzes should be allowed because they force students to keep up with the material being taught in class.”

According to an article by Cassandra Willyard in Science Magazine titled “The Benefits of Pop Quizzes,” researchers have found that students study the coursework better when they are expecting to have a pop quiz.

Willyard says that, according to research, students who prepare for potential surprise assessments remember information better “by creating mediators: clues or mnemonic devices that link words or ideas.”  In other words, by telling students that they may have a quiz at any time, the teachers incentivize the students to develop better study habits and methods for retaining information.

Though pop quizzes can be inconvenient, we should look at them more as a necessary evil rather than an outright punishment for students. Pop quizzes can help us become more responsible and attentive in class, so they should be allowed in MCPS.

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