What Do Students Know?
Check in with students frequently to find out how much they understand;
that way, you can address lingering questions or confusions,
or&emdash;if students have a firm grasp of the material&emdash;move
on to the next step. These easy techniques provide useful information
about student comprehension.
Step 1: Planning Pick a simple assessment technique from below
that appeals to you and plan when you'll implement it
Step 2: Implementing Dry run facilitating the assessment
in your head--make sure your directions are clear and students
why you're collecting this information
Step 3: Responding Be sure to "close the feedback loop" and
tell the class what you learned from the information--use their
words and feedback to guide your next steps (from Classroom Assessment
The One-Minute Paper: 2 questions: What was the most important
thing you learned during class? and What important question remains
The Muddiest Point: 1 question: What was the muddiest point in
One Word Whip/Write: Students quickly go around the room (no teacher
intervention after direction-giving) and say one word about what
they wrote, or one word to summarize how well they understand a
One-Sentence Summary: Ask students to summarize a body of information,
class discussion, or text in one sentence--write down and discuss
Turn To Your Partner: Students review a concept with a partner.
Directed Paraphrasing: Ask students to paraphrase for a particular
audience part of a topic, concept, article, or text--the audience
could be you or other students.
Teach Someone Else: Students describe how they would explain a
concept to their roommates, or teach it to next semester's class.
Teaching the Class: List concepts covered recently. Ask students
to fill out two index cards: Card 1: I have a question about _________.
The question is: __________? Card 2: I can answer a question about
____________. Collect/redistribute Card 1; ask students to display
Card 2. Read Card 1 aloud. See if anyone in the whole class can
answer the questions (if not, the instructor should answer them).
Matching Cards: Make a set of paired cards: concepts and definitions,
or concepts and examples. Give each student one card and ask them
to find the student who has the other half of their set.
Mindmaps: Students use markers/large paper to link and draw connections
between ideas, themes, or texts
Email Portfolios: Students write regular emails with skill focus
(making strong claims, identifying consequences, etc.) and then
hand in for evaluation on how they're learning that skill
Checklists: List concepts covered in the past few days/weeks. Ask
students to circle any concept they do not think they could define
or recognize, and put a star next to any concept they think they
could recognize but not generate on their own.
for more, see
Angelo, T.A., & Cross, K.P. Classroom Assessment Techniques:
A Handbook for College Teachers. San Francisco: Josey-Bass, 1993.
Huba, Mary E. and Jann E. Freed. Learner-Centered Assessment on
College Campuses: Shifting the Focus from Teaching to Learning.
Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon, 2000.
Silberman, Mel. Active Learning: 101 Strategies to Teach Any Subject.
Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1996.
(List compiled by Karlyn Crowley)