Research continues to show that preparedness is the best way for a student to achieve success during his or her educational career. There is no magic formula or gizmo to assure a student’s success. Learning the old fashioned way is still tried-and-true. And recent studies indicate that retrieval testing is a winning learning technique, which goes hand-in-hand with preparedness, whereby a student reads over material, takes a test, and then learns from the gaps in their knowledge – then retakes the test, perhaps several times.
Qwizzy’s World and Cram Stoppers are online test creation sites that encourage retrieval testing and preparedness. Both just became available free of charge. Qwizzy’s World (QW) is geared to Pre-K - 8th grade students, and Cram Stoppers (CS) serves high school and college students.
Founder, Julie Wilson, created QW in 2008 when she couldn’t find a site that her son could use for quizzing. After launching QW and receiving positive feedback, she launched CS in 2010 to better accommodate more mature students. “I created Qwizzy’s World specifically for my children, allowing friends to give it a try, and after many rave reviews from those who said Qwizzy’s consistently helped improve their students’ grades, I knew I had to share it. The results have been encouraging, and I’ve learned much about learning methods – what works and what doesn’t,” explained Julie Wilson.
One of the features of QW and CS is “Just Logical,” which Wilson designed with JoAnne Jackson, a doctoral student at Northcentral University and teacher for nine years. Just Logical supports the retrieval testing technique, in that it requires students to get an answer correct before moving forward. Just Logical enables an assessment to be a true tool for learning instead of being merely a summative, end-point measure.
A report published on Jan. 20, 2011 in Science Magazine supports this learning method. Retrieval practice produces greater gains in meaningful learning than studying with a technique called concept mapping, according to authors Jeffrey D. Karpicke and Janell R. Blunt. Their findings support the theory that retrieval practice enhances learning and is effective in promoting conceptual learning.
In an August 29th segment on The Today Show, Dr. Gail Saltz and Dana Points, Editor in Chief of Parents Magazine, stated that students who were well prepared and had a positive attitude enjoyed greater classroom success. Preparation is key, according to Saltz and Points. Wilson launched QW primarily to ease test-taking anxiety and create confidence, while emphasizing the importance of preparedness. “I noticed that my children got anxious prior to a test and therefore didn’t do as well. By taking practice quizzes on QW, they got so used to testing that by the time they got to class, they were relaxed, focused and ready to go,” says Wilson. “It was all about the preparation.”
Another method of studying, made popular with the growing home schooling segment, is “peer tutoring.” Peer tutoring is a system of instruction in which learners help each other and learn themselves by teaching. A feature of QW and CS is “Buddysharing,” whereby a student creates a test and then shares with peers on the same grade level. The interchange of quizzes among students encourages peer tutoring and ensures that all material is covered. It makes learning more fun because students are engaging with one another, sharing information, and comparing scores.
“I knew we were onto something with QW and CS when glowing testimonials kept coming in,” shares Wilson. “And after my continued research regarding how students not only learn, but retain, it became very clear that quizzing, then seeing what one got wrong, and then re-quizzing, was the answer. It’s the repetition that helps a student retain information, so that they are not just memorizing, only to forget content days later.” QW and CS have a feature called “The Ultimate Quiz,” which allows a student to compile smaller quizzes into one, which is helpful for mid-terms and final exams.
Members of QW and CS can upgrade their free memberships to nominal fee-based memberships that include “Knowledge Nook,” on QW and a “Community Library” on CS. Knowledge Nook is an extensive library of pre-designed quizzes for each grade level. Students who need a little nudge can access already made quizzes and take them as many times as necessary. The “Community Library” is the upgrade feature on CS, which is fully stocked with pre-loaded content on a variety of topics.
First-time users are guided with a new audio assistance tool making the site user-friendly. Other features include “Just Keep Writing,” which provides students of all skill levels a non-threatening way to learn to write. Wilson designed Just Keep Writing with Peggy Hoover, a teacher with 30-plus years of experience and a Masters in reading. A discouraged student has the capability of becoming an accomplished writer by using this tool.
“My goal has always been to provide QW and CS for free, and I’m excited that this opens up our resources to every student out there,” says Wilson. Her next goal is to create apps for both sites, making QW and CS even more accessible to students.
About Qwizzy’s World
Qwizzy’s World (QW) is a free online quiz creation site designed for students Pre-K - 8th grade, parents, teachers, and tutors. Designed to alleviate test-taking anxiety, build confidence, and train students to be prepared, QW allows custom quizzes to be crafted from public, private or home school classroom materials. Quizzes can be created in five formats — multiple choice, matching, fill-in-the-blank, true/false, open-ended — and stored for repeated and randomized quiz taking, anytime, anyplace. Instant scoring gives students immediate feedback, and progress can be watched via an Overall Performance Chart. Special features include Buddysharing, The Ultimate Quiz, Just Keep Writing, Just Logical, Flash Cards, and a Text Editor Tool Bar. One of the newest features is the Knowledge Nook, which contains already-designed quizzes created by educators that are displayed by grade level and subject. These are available to be taken and copied for a nominal fee. QW supports all subjects, including foreign languages.