"100% or Nothing!" A Learning & Review Strategy!

Great Review Strategies for end of course exams

As testing season is around the corner, I wanted to share my absolute favorite review strategy. Its student centered, high-impact, it really helps students make sense of the content, and its been incredibly effective in my classroom. It's called, “100% or Nothing!” 

Whether you wanted to prepare students for an end of course exam like an AP test or STAAR, assess them on a given unit, or just to see how much they learned from a textbook reading- here’s how “100% or Nothing!” can help your students master the material!

First, I just want to mention that I learned this strategy from my mentor (and my high school teacher), Glen Coleman, who wrote about it in his book, "100 or Nothing: Reimagining Success in the Classroom." I do it a little differently than Mr. Coleman does, but the gist is the same. 


The basic idea is that students take an auto-graded quiz, such as a Google Form or Gimkit, in small groups with open-notes. The catch is that they must get a 100% on the quiz, or they have to retake it until they do. Since its auto-graded students, students and you get instant feedback. 


This strategy is incredibly effective for a few reasons. First, it forces students to pay close attention to detail and sharpen their test-taking strategies on their own. Second, it encourages rich discussions among students as they go through the questions determining the correct answers and justifying why incorrect answers are wrong. And third, students really have to rely on each other which encourages a lot of participation and engagement in the group work. 

best review strategies for history

Even type-A students have to lean more on their peers to ensure their answers are correct since they can't afford a single mistake. And if they get a few questions wrong, they can retake the quiz right away and thus, get even more practice with the material. In this way, it's similar to EduProtocols “Fast and Curious” strategy.

After the 100% or Nothing! group quiz, the next day students retake the same quiz or test individually and with closed notes. This keeps students accountable during the group, which is really just a practice quiz.  And since students know they will be retaking the quiz or test the next day, they work in their groups to not just get the answers right, but to understand WHY those answers are correct. 


This strategy does two other things I think are really important. It helps students develop a growth mindset since it's built around the idea that learning is a process and that mistakes are normal. 

It also raises the bar for students and shows them that you believe in their potential for excellence. Students will often rise to the level of expectations you set for them- so long as they know you are there to support them along the way. 

So raise the bar high for students and help them get there with “100% or Nothing!” quizzes. I hope it helps your students retain the content and enjoy the learning process. 

Happy teaching & learning,
Dan Lewer

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