Are Pop Quizzes Evil?

Many teachers enjoy giving pop quizzes.

Are pop quizzes evil?

Pop Quiz

The primary argument of teachers who make use of pop quizzes is that it apparently makes students review lessons and prepare for the next class.

But is this really the best way to make students review and prepare for classes?

Another reason teachers use pop quizzes is that it gives teachers a quick way to assess if the students are learning.

But is this really the best way to check students’ understanding?

Personally, I never enjoyed pop quizzes. It sucked the joy out of the class. I would argue only a tiny percentage of the student population enjoy taking pop quizzes.

As an advocate for brain based teaching and learning, I believe there are better and more interesting quick assessment methods besides pop quizzes.

Brain research says that stress and threats immobilizes students and slows down learning.

The brain also needs time to process information and to transfer the new knowledge to the long term memory.

To give a pop quiz at the end of the class session would violate this fundamental learning process.

Finally, there are intrinsic methods to motivate students to review and prepare for the future classes. For one, we can make the subject as interesting and relevant as possible to the students. This would motivate them to study and review the material at home without us resorting to external threats and forces.

How about you? As a student, did you enjoy pop quizzes?

Are pop quizzes evil?

Please share your thoughts on this topic in the comments below.

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Argee Abadines
Argee Abadines is the founder and chief content engineer of this website. He is a brain based educator and his educational interests are pedagogy, higher order thinking, creativity, and educational technology. He is also the founder of Bruner Learning Hub. He currently teaches high school business studies and economics. Previously, he taught English to primary students. He reads up regularly about trends in education and online media. You can visit his personal blog at


  1. I’m also a fan of Brain Based Learning. Very well said! Although I don’t give pop quizzes to my second graders, I find a lot of “turn and talk” time helps reinforce what they’re learning and gives me feedback on how they’re doing as well.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas!

    Sally from ElementaryMatters

      1. Thanks, Argee!

        “Turn and talk” is just how it sounds. After some instruction, the children are instructed to face their partner and have a conversation about what they just learned. It takes some practice to get them to really talk about the topic, but it’s very effective. We “turn and talk” several times throughout the day!

        Sally from ElementaryMatters

        1. Thanks for the information Sally! 🙂

          That’s a very active learning based strategy. Plus children love to talk which makes it an excellent tool.

          A modification of your strategy could be Peer tutoring. Have one teach the other about the lesson you have just taught, and then after a few minutes, they exchange roles.

  2. As I teacher, I don’t enjoy giving them because at the end of each pop quiz I get stressed out when I see them commit lots of mistakes. There’s definitely a lot more means to assess children’s learning other than giving pop quizzes. In our school we’ve resorted to providing alternative assessments, assessments that are not the usual pen and paper but rather a type of measure that employs creativity in applying lessons learned.:)

  3. I wouldn’t say that pop quizzes are evil although I NEVER enjoyed them. I think pop quizzes were just invented to hide the teacher’s unpreparedness for class. Quizzes, in general, provide an almost accurate assessment of what the students learned. But pop quizzes? Well, I think it would assess how the teacher has successfully imparted her lesson for the day.

  4. When I was a student I myself didn’t enjoy pop quizzes. As you mentioned, students have different levels of processing information such pop quizzes is not a good measure or indication of learning. Maybe I belong to the slow processor or was it slow learner? he!he!

  5. I hate pop quiz since I’m not really the type who’d study every night though I’m lucky enough to have some stock (not stuck) knowledge and a retentive mind from lectures. Still I hate it as I’d like to be prepared when I take my quizzes.

  6. I am not much fan of pop quiz either. Teachers do have different views about it. Some sees it as a good way to review their class and the lessons they just discussed.

  7. I hate quizzes but I don’t have any choice….. lol.,.. pop quizzes help the students to retain the knowledge they gain from the lesson.

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