Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs)

Classroom assessment techniques (CATs) are a type of formative assessment. Formative assessments are non-graded assessments that provide you and students information about their learning progress, and helps you adjust instruction.

Active Learning Cards

Click here to download a pdf copy of our Active Learning Cards which might give you a new idea or two to try with your students. Decks of these cards are also available on reserve in the Fleming libraries.

APGAR Score for Class Preparation

Gardner Campbell has a great idea: students can give themselves and APGAR score at the start of class. It’s quick, easy, motivating and informs you and the students about student preparedness for class. Try putting these questions up on a presentation slide, and start class this way. Feeling wild? Do this classroom routine each class/week and ask students to track their progress and note any correlation between their efforts to prepare for class and their learning success.

1. Did you read the material for today’s class carefully?
No=0, Yes, once=1, Yes, more than once=2
2. Did you come to class today with questions or with items you’re eager to discuss?
No=0, Yes, one=1, Yes, more than one=2
3. Since we last met, did you talk at length to a classmate or classmates about either the last class or today’s class?
No=0, Yes, one person=1, Yes, more than one person=2
4. Since our last class, did you read any unassigned material related to this course of study?
No=0, Yes, one item=1, Yes, more than one item=2
5. Since our last class, how much time have you spent reflecting on this course of study and recent classes or work?
None to 29 minutes=0, 30 minutes to an hour=1, over an hour=2

 

Exit Pass

exit pass


Below are from: Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers

 

Jigsaw

How to use it:

  • Arrange students into groups
  • Assign each group a different piece of information to research, learn, discuss, etc. Make sure they know that they will be teaching that piece of information to their peers later.
  • Form new groups, with one member of each original group in each new group. Each group member then shares their piece of the learning with their new group, and the whole class learns all of the required content.
  • Example:

First Group Formation:
AAAAA          BBBBB          CCCCC          DDDDD         EEEEE

Second Group Formation:
ABCDE          ABCDE          ABCDE          ABCDE          ABCDE

How to use it as an assessment:

  • Have each group report back to see if there is any conflicting information; correct and refine as necessary.

 

 

Think-Pair-Share

How to use it:

  • Think: Ask a (specific, higher-level) question. Students think about what they know or have learned about the topic for a given amount of time (usually 1-3 minutes).
  • Pair:  Students share their thinking with a partner, discuss ideas, and ask questions about their thoughts on the topic (2-5 minutes).
  • Share:  Once partners have had ample time to share their thoughts and have a discussion, expand the share into a whole-class discussion. After the class share, you may choose to have pairs reconvene to talk about how their thinking perhaps changed as a result.

How to use it as an assessment:

  • Use the whole-class share to gauge the students’ understanding of the topic;
  • Use the post-share pair to have students assess their own understanding and/or gaps.

 

 

One-Sentence Summary

How to use it:

  • Select an important topic recently studied that you expect students to learn to summarize.
  • Working as quickly as you can, answer the questions “Who Did/Does What to Whom, When, Where, How, and Why?” in relation to that topic. Note how long this first step takes you.
  • Next, turn your answers into a grammatical sentence that follows the WDWWWWHW pattern. Note how long this second step takes you.
  • Allow your students up to twice as much time as it took you to carry out the task and give them clear directions on the One-Sentence Summary before you announce the topic to be summarized.

How to use it as an assessment:

  • Students can use it to assess their understanding of a topic (and can consult with peers during or after the process)
  • Teachers can use it to assess students’ understanding of the summary technique, and/or of the subject

 

Punctuated Lectures

How to use it:

  • Choose a lecture that introduces new material and can be effectively divided into ten- or twenty-minute segments. Decide in advance on the two spots where you will “punctuate” the lecture and schedule enough time during the session to work through the technique.
  • Don’t forewarn students about the first “punctuation,” but once you do stop, explain that the point is to give them an opportunity to reflect on their learning.
  • Direct students to reflect on what they have learned and then give them a limited time to write a summary of what has been learned.

How to use it as an assessment:

  • Students can use it to assess their understanding of the lecture material (and can consult with peers during or after the process)
  • Teachers can use it to assess students’ understanding of the lecture

 

Student-Generated Test Questions

How to Use it:

  • Give students some information on the types of questions that will be on the test or exam.
  • Ask students (individually, in pairs, or in small groups) to come up with possible questions they think might be on the exam.
  • Review the students’ questions and discuss which are better questions (or select the best to share), and why. Perhaps use one or more questions on the test or exam.

How to Use it as an Assessment:

  • Students can use it to assess their understanding of the material
  • Teachers can use it to assess students’ understanding of the material and their readiness for the upcoming test/exam.

 

 

Minute Papers

How to Use it:

  • Write a question, such as, What was the most important thing you learned during this class? or What important question remains unanswered after this class?
  • Ask students to spend one minute (or perhaps 2 – 5 minutes) reflecting, then writing on, the question(s) posed.

How to Use it as an Assessment:

  • Students can use it to assess their understanding of the lecture material (and can consult with peers during or after the process)
  • Teachers can use it to assess students’ understanding of the lecture material and their effectiveness

 

 

Empty Outlines

How to Use it:

  • Create an outline of the lecture, presentation, discussion, or reading you want to focus on.
  • Decide on the following:
    • Do you want students to supply the main topics, subtopics, or supporting details?
    • Will students be required to complete the outline during a lecture/presentation, or after (from memory)?
    • Will you limit the amount of time students have to complete the outline?
    • Provide feedback (either in class or in writing) on what the completed outline should include.

How to Use it as an Assessment:

  • Students can use it to assess their understanding of the material;
  • Teachers can use it to assess students’ understanding of the material.

 

 

Directed Paraphrasing

How to Use it:

  • Select an important theory, concept, or argument that students have studied in some depth.
  • Ask students to prepare a paraphrase of the topic.
  • You can limit the audience for the paraphrase, or the speaking time, or the number of words/sentences.

How to Use it as an Assessment:

  • Assess the difficulty with which students prepare their paraphrase, as well as the quality, to gauge their understanding of the concept;
  • Students can use it to assess their understanding of the concept as well.

 

 

Application Cards

How to Use it:

  • Identify an important principle, theory, generalization, or procedure that your students are studying or have just studied.
  • Provide students with index cards or slips of paper.
  • Ask students to write a (real-world) application (or up to three applications), one per card, of the concept in a set time frame (1 – 3 applications in 3 – 5 minutes) and submit the cards.

How to Use it as an Assessment:

  • Allow students to work with a partner or small group to help them assess their own understanding of the topic;
  • Share good examples of applications with the class to help them assess their own understanding;
  • If applications are difficult for students to come up with, or they provide inaccurate ones, then consider reviewing or re-teaching the concept.

 

 

REEF Polling by iClicker

Submitted by Sylvia Cashmore: 

I am an avid user of REEF Polling by iclicker. https://www1.iclicker.com/products/reef-polling/  I even had a student in the summer like it so much that she wrote an essay on it arguing its merits.  I try to punctuate a lecture every 20 minutes with at least 2 REEF Polling questions. I import the scores into D2L as no weight initially. The final iclicker score is worth 10% of the final grade, but I count their best 70%. The idea of counting the best 70% came from UBC science professors who have used iclicker for years. By doing that, students are not penalized for the occasional sick day or forgetting their device. When they express concern, I tell them that can be their throw away.


Do you have any Classroom Assessment Techniques to add to this list? Well, don’t keep it to yourself! Hook us up with the details and we’ll add them here! LDSTeam@flemingcollege.ca make the subject of the email :My CAT is better than yours!