The Weight of Quizzes and Tests

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Courtney Lynch, Writer

Picture this: Your teacher announces that there will be a quiz this week. However, the first thing you think of may not even be the subject matter of the quiz, but more the class you’re sitting in. While a quiz in your science class may only be worth 30 points, a quiz in your math class could be worth 90.  Not only is this confusing to keep up with, but it also can affect your motivation and grade in particular classes.


One flaw with certain classes weighing tests really high is a fairly common thing known as test anxiety. While 40-60% of students have claimed to experience test anxiety on certain occasions, roughly 38% record experiencing it all the time.  Many students that struggle with test anxiety typically have a hard time remembering information for the quiz or test because they are too focused on the anxiety it’s bringing them.  This does not mean that we should do away with tests and quizzes as a whole, it simply means it could more accurately affect overall grades if they were weighted more evenly with things like homework, classwork, and participation.


Another considerable point in the difference of quiz/test weight in classes is the motivation to study. For example, if a student has two quizzes for different classes in a day and one of them weighs significantly more than the other, isn’t it common sense to study more for the quiz with a higher weight? This leaves the student studying really well for one quiz and almost neglecting the other considering it isn’t worth as much.


Kiki Sylvanowicz, a Pentucket junior, states that “A lot of the time I will have a quiz in pre-calc on the same day as stats and knowing that pre-calc is weighted so much heavier, I devote most of my studying time to it. Meaning I only typically do a very quick review for stats.” 


One way that teachers might be able to lower the weight of tests and quizzes could be to balance it out a little bit with things like projects.  It is understandable that homework and classwork would not be equally weighted with tests and quizzes, but projects definitely could be.  Projects are a great, creative way to show what a student has learned and can still be graded tougher than normal classwork.  Evening out tests/quizzes and projects is very fair to most types of students, those who don’t test well and those who aren’t as creative because it gives both groups a chance to display their strengths and knowledge while positively impacting their grades. 


Altogether, between things like test anxiety and study time, it would be more beneficial to have tests and quizzes be weighted less drastically than other assignments.  While it makes sense to hold them higher than things like homework and classwork, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to even them out with things like projects.





Brideau, Megan, et al. “SiOWfa15: Science in Our World: Certainty and Controversy.” SiOWfa15 Science in Our World Certainty and Controversy, 10 Sept. 2015,