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Guest Thinkers

Quiz lottery

In the March issue of NEA Today magazine, a high school Spanish teacher writes in:

I use a lottery to reward homework completion. All my students write their names on slips of paper. Whenever there is a quiz, I check back over the past five days, and those students who have completed all the assignments in that time get their names put in the lottery. As the students wait for the quiz, I dramatically select a name and that student doesn’t have to take the quiz. Homework completion has shot up in all my classes and so have grades.

So should we be

  1. congratulating this teacher for finding an innovative way to get her students to complete their homework?,
  • worried that students don’t understand basic principles of statistical probability?, or
  • chagrined that students are quite eager to get out of an opportunity to assess their learning and progress in Spanish?

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