Effects of a Contingency for Quiz Accuracy on Exam Scores

  • Samantha R. Dalfen
  • Daniel M. Fienup
  • Peter Sturmey
Research Article


Completing frequent quizzes can improve exam scores; however, there is a lack of research on variables that influence quiz accuracy and whether there is an effect on exam scores. This study evaluated the effects of a contingency for quiz accuracy on quiz accuracy and exam performance. Eighty-one students enrolled in an introductory Learning course participated. For each class meeting and its related readings, the instructor assigned an online quiz due just before each class. During the no-contingency condition, the instructor assigned quizzes, but quiz accuracy did not result in points toward the final grade. During the accuracy-contingency condition, students earned points based on quiz accuracy. In a reversal design, the accuracy-contingency increased quiz accuracy and exam scores relative to no-contingency. Although many students benefited from the contingency, low-performing students were least likely to show a meaningful improvement in exam scores.


Web-based Quizzes Exams Undergraduate students Contingency 



This research was conducted by the first author in partial fulfillment of a Ph.D. in Psychology (behavior analysis concentration) through the Graduate Center, CUNY.

A portion of Dr. Fienup’s work was completed while affiliated with Queens College and The Graduate Center, CUNY.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

The research was determined to be exempt by the institutional review board of the affiliated university.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samantha R. Dalfen
    • 1
  • Daniel M. Fienup
    • 2
  • Peter Sturmey
    • 1
  1. 1.Queens College and The Graduate CenterCUNYNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health and Behavior Studies, Teachers CollegeColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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