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Montana Tech - InQuizitive

This case study was created by WW Norton. WW Norton retains sole editorial control and responsibility for the content in this case study.

Montana Tech—InQuizitive and Introduction to Sociology

Instructor: Michael Masters Course Materials: You May Ask Yourself, Fourth Edition and InQuizitive


I used InQuizitive in Sociology 101-02—Introduction to Sociology, an online class taught at Montana Tech in Fall 2015. Sociology 101 is an elective course taken by a broad range of majors, often to satisfy a social sciences requirement. It is also a required prerequisite for entering the nursing program and fulfills a social sciences requirement for students in the liberal arts department. As such, there is consistently a broad diversity of students who take the course.

The section in which InQuizitive was used was capped at 35 students, and maintained a relatively high retention rate throughout, ending with 34 students in total.

Course Challenges

One of the biggest challenges I face when teaching this course is that such a broad diversity of majors take the class. Some students seem to have a hard time with elements of the course that involve integrating material from the hard sciences, such as evolutionary biology or math, while other students from hard science disciplines struggle with aspects of sociology that are more theoretical and lack rigorous scientific evidence to support these theories. As the class is taught online, it’s more difficult to gauge which aspects of the course students might be struggling with.

Another challenge is figuring out how to get students to keep up with the course material, read their textbook, and use the supplemental course materials. Generally, my goal is to get them to fully engage with and comprehend the material in a more holistic way beyond simply memorizing content and answering questions on exams.


During the Fall 2015 semester, I assigned InQuizitive to get students to interact with the weekly content in a way that would help them better understand course topics and study for my weekly quizzes. The InQuizitive assignments counted as 20% of their overall course grade. Because it was possible to get a 100% each week by reaching each InQuizitive assignment’s target score, if students completed all of the InQuizitive activities on time throughout the semester, it was relatively easy for them to receive all possible points for this part of the class.


Student Performance

Methodological Note: Students who did not complete at least 5 quizzes during the semester (who had effectively dropped the course) were removed from the dataset.

Data below comes from a simple comparison of student weekly quiz results and overall grades from a section taught in Spring 2015, a semester in which InQuizitive was not used, to my Fall 2015 section in which InQuizitive was assigned.

Comparison of Weekly Quiz Scores Across Semesters The results of a two-sample t-test investigating the difference in average quiz grades between Autumn (87.96%) and Spring (82.4%) 2015 semesters shows that the semester in which InQuizitive was used (Autumn 2015) is associated with significantly higher average weekly quiz scores across the 14 quizzes given (t(56) = 2.13, p = 0.037). While small sample sizes make it difficult to draw definitive conclusions from this data, the quizzes that were given in each of the two semesters were exactly the same, eliminating a number of confounding variables that may have biased this result.

To read more: Montana Tech—InQuizitive and Introduction to Sociology

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