Classroom Assessment Techniques

Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) are formative assessment techniques for ongoing feedback about student learning.  Depending on the input, you may want students to respond anonymously.  Incorporating feedback into  subsequent classes helps students know  you value their feedback.

Getting Started

Minute Paper

  • Set aside two-to-five minutes of class time to ask students to respond to two questions: what is the most important thing you learned, and what important question(s) remain unanswered?
  • If your focus is on prior homework, ask the questions at the beginning of class. If it concerns the day’s lecture, reserve the assignment for the conclusion of class
  • Specify whether you want responses to be in phrases, short sentences, etc.
  • For more information, see CELT’s Minute Paper

Muddiest Point

  • Responses to the question “what is the muddiest point in …?” provides valuable information with little time and energy required
  • A few minutes before the end of class, pass out slips of paper or index cards for students to record responses to a muddiest point question on a specific segment of work. Let them know how much time to spend on the assignment
  • Have students hand them to you as they are leaving the door of the class or drop them in a ‘muddy point’ box
  • Address students’ feedback during the next class.

One-Sentence Summary

  • Ask students to address a specific topic covered in class and answer the question: Who does what to whom, when, where, how, and why?
  • Have them to synthesize the information into a summary sentence
  • Before doing this exercise, practice it first and note how long it takes you to complete it.  Provide clear instructions to the students and allow them twice as much time to complete it

Directed Paraphrase

  • Ask students to take a few minutes and describe a concept for a lay audience
  • Have them and in their response at the end of class

Concept Map

  • Ask students to graphically represent the relationships among concepts covered in a class or course
  • While concepts are typically represented as nodes and relationships as lines, give students freedom to represent concepts and relationships in whichever graphic way they choose