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Getting Started with Classroom Assessment Techniques

Getting started with classroom assessment techniques can happen in an easy three-step process:

1. Planning

  • Select one course you know well and are comfortable with to try a Classroom Assessment Technique (CAT) in.
  • Pick one class meeting to use one, simple CAT.
  • Decide what you want to assess about your students’ learning from a CAT.
  • Choose a CAT that provides this feedback, is consistent with your teaching style, and can be implemented easily in your class.

2. Implementing

  • Set expectations! Let students know beforehand what you are going to do and tell them why you are asking them for information. You want to explain why you are using this technique (not for grading purposes).
  • Make sure students clearly understand the procedure before moving forward. Be explicit about the directions of the exercise and check to make sure everyone is clear on the process before moving forward.
  • Let students know how much time they will have to complete the exercise.
  • When time is up, collect responses. Read them quickly and provide feedback asap. Ideally, you want to do this before class ends or at the beginning of the very next class.

3. Responding

  • Be sure you close the feedback loop in a timely manner.
  • Decide what, how, and when you will tell students about their response results. How you will address the results or any misconceptions or gaps in knowledge will depend on the percentage of students who do not understand the concept and the complexity of the information. Below are some suggested guidelines:
    • 25% = schedule extra class time
    • 20% = offer extra tutorial session
    • 15% = distribute an explanatory handout
  • Decide what changes to make, if any, to the content or your teaching.
  • Let your students know what you learned from the CAT and how you will use this information

Examples of Classroom Assessment Techniques

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