Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

Low-stakes Reading Quizzes To Promote Critical Reading And Effective Notetaking

Reading assignments typically produce a few students who talk about the reading in
class, and many more who are reluctant to raise their hands. With a pre-circulated pool
of quiz questions, students can start their reading with targets and a strategy. Questions
may demand a critical reading of the text, or may focus on subtle points that would
otherwise go unnoticed. With open notes during a quiz, test anxiety can be replaced by a
focus on homework process. The student’s own sheet of answers to the pool of
questions later forms a trove of excellent notes on course readings, and helps improve
group discussion of readings. This process can show students that critical reading is
active reading. Many students report this weekly process teaches them how to read
more critically, and take notes more effectively.

Owen, Abigail
DC, History