Pop quiz! What’s a quick way to make sure students are keeping pace with what you’re teaching? Give a quiz! Quizzes provide short, straight-to-the-point checks for comprehension that help you adjust instruction so that everyone in your class stays on track toward mastery.

Here are six tips to help you create quizzes that deliver the information you and your students need to ensure everyone’s learning what they need to.

1. Set Clear Goals

Why are you giving this quiz? What do you hope to learn? How will you use the resulting data? Once you’ve determined the objective of your quiz keep it in mind when creating your quiz. Make sure every question is providing valuable insight—if it’s not, don’t ask the question.

2. Measure Mastery

You can effectively measure various levels of mastery by including questions ranging in difficulty. Use a mix of very easy questions as well as moderately difficult and difficult questions to gauge how well your students understand the material and if you need to spend more time on a specific area.

3. Keep it Simple

Don’t try to pack too many questions into a quiz. The key is to keep it simple so you can quickly determine if you need to spend more time on a lesson. In some instances, even a one-question quiz can provide the insight you need on whether students understand the material.

A pass/fail grading system is often the easiest way to assess whether students are grasping the material. Look at individual questions to see if there are collective gaps in comprehension. If the majority of students missed the same question, spend more time on that particular concept.

4. Stay on Topic

Be sure to ask questions that are directly related to the content you are teaching. Don’t confuse students by asking questions that are off-topic or unrelated to the lesson.

5. Provide Timely, Constructive, and Meaningful Feedback

Quizzes can help students as much as teachers. Share quiz results when the material is still fresh in the students’ minds. Be sure to provide the results in a constructive way: stress both the strengths and weaknesses of students’ work, and have a discussion on how they can improve. Ensure the results are meaningful by circling back to the lesson, and be sure to target individual needs. This feedback process will help empower students to think critically about what they have learned and reflect on what they need to improve on.

6. Get Student Buy-In

Many students suffer from test anxiety. Be up front with your students at the start of the school year and explain that they will be taking frequent quizzes in your class. Dispel anxiety by assuring your students that the quizzes won’t count toward their grades and are just for informational purposes. Let students know that quizzes are an opportunity for them to communicate with you about what they know and what they’re struggling with so you can tailor your instruction to their specific needs.

Keep stress low but making quizzes fun for students. Add a silly answer or two in your multiple choice questions to give students a little comic relief. Use pictures and videos to address different learning styles and to provide variety for all students. Get creative!

Quizzes are a valuable tool in your teaching toolbox. Make the most of them this school year!