Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Assessment 101: Classroom Assessment Techniques

Using Various Classroom Assessment Techniques

students in group workThe classroom assessment techniques are examples selected and adapted from Cross and Angelo’s book, Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for Faculty. For other ideas, see the full PDF, other resources listed below or talk with a member of the Assessment Workgroup or your campus Liaison.

I. Assessing Prior Knowledge, Recall, and Understanding
The CATS in this group are recommended to assess declarative learning, the content of a particular subject.

Minute Paper
Perhaps the most frequently used CAT; students answer 2 questions:

  1. What was the most important thing you learned during this class?
  2. What important question remains unanswered?)

Muddiest Point
Considered by many as the simplest CAT; well suited to large, lower division courses but not to those which emphasize integration, synthesis and evaluation; students respond to 1 question:

  1. What was the muddiest point in  :    ?

Focused Listing
Focuses students’ attention on a single important term, name, or concept from a lesson or class session and directs students to list ideas related to the “focus.”

II. Assessing Skill in Analysis and Critical Thinking
The CATS in this group focus on analysis - the breaking down of information, questions, or problems to facilitate understanding and problem solving

Categorizing Grid
Students complete a grid containing two or three overarching concepts and a variety of related subordinate elements associated with the larger concepts.

Defining Features Matrix
Students categorize concepts according to presence or absence of important defining features.

Analytic Memos
Students write a one or two page analysis of a specific problem or issue to help inform a decision maker.

III. Assessing Skill in Synthesis and Creative Thinking
The CATS in this group focus on synthesis - each stimulate the student to create, and allow the faculty to assess, original intellectual products that result from a synthesis of course content and the students’ intelligence, judgment, knowledge, and skills.

Concept Maps
Students draw or diagram the mental connections they make between a major concept and other concepts they have learned.

One Sentence Summary
Students answer the questions: "Who does what to whom, when, where, how and why?" about a given topic and then creates a single informative, grammatical and long summary sentence.

Annotated Portfolios
Students assemble a very limited number of examples of creative work and supplement with own commentary on significance of examples.

IV. Assessing Skill in Problem Solving
The CATS in this group focus on problem solving skills of various kinds - recognition of types of problems, determining principles and techniques to solve, perceiving similarities of problem features and ability to reflect and then alter solution strategies

Problem Recognition Tasks
Students recognize and identify particular problem types.

Documented Problem Solutions
Students track in a written format the steps they take to solve problems as if for a "show & tell."

What's the Principle?
Students identify principle or principles to solve problems of various types.

V. Assessing Skill in Application and Performance
The CATS in this group focus on students’ abilities to apply important - sometimes referenced as conditional knowledge - when and where to apply what know and can do.

Directed Paraphrasing
Students paraphrase part of a lesson for a specific audience demonstrating ability to translate highly specialized information into language the clients or customers can understand.

Application Cards
Students generate examples of real work applications for important principles, generalizations, theories or procedures.

Student-Generated Test Questions
Students generate test questions and model answers for critical areas of learning.

VI. Assessing Students' Self-Awareness as Learners
The CATS in this group are recommended to help students express personal goals and clarify self-concept in order to make a connection between the articulated goals and those of the course.

Classroom Opinion Polls
Students indicate degree of agreement or disagreement with a statement or prompt.

Everyday Ethical Dilemma
Students respond to a case study that poses a discipline-related ethical dilemma.

Double Entry Journals
Students record and respond to significant passages of text.

VII. Assessing Prior Knowledge, Recall, and Understanding
The CATS in this group are recommended to assess declarative learning, the content of a particular subject.

Focused Autobiographical Sketches
Students write a brief description of a successful learning experience they had relevant to course material.

Interest / Knowlege / Skills Checklist
Students complete a checklist survey to indicate their knowledge, skills and interest in various course topics.

Goal Ranking & Matching
Students list and prioritize three to five goals they have for their own learning in the course.

VIII. Assessing Course-Related Learning and Study Skills, Strategies, and Behaviors
The CATS in this group focus both student and teacher attention on the behaviors the student actually engages in when trying to learn.

Productive Study Time Logs
Students complete a study log to record the quantity and quality of time spent studying for a specific course.

Process Analysis
Students outline the process they take in completing a specified assignment.

Punctuated Lectures
Students briefly reflect then create a written record of their listening level of a lecture.

IX. Assessing Learner Reactions to Teachers and Teaching
The CATS in this group are designed to provide context-specific feedback that can improve teaching within a particular courset.

Chain Notes
On an index card that is distributed in advance, students respond to an open-ended prompt about his or her mental activity that is answered in less than a minute.

Electronic Survey Feedback
Students respond to a question or short series of questions about the effectiveness of the course.

Teacher Designed Feedback Forms
Students respond to specific questions through a focused feedback form about the effectiveness of a particular class session.

X. Assessing Learner Reactions to Class Activities, Assignments, and Materials
The CATS in this group are designed to give teachers information that will helps them improve their course materials and assignments.

Recall, Summarize, Question, Connect and Comment: Students write brief statements that recall summarize, question, connect and comment on meaningful points from a previous class.

Reading Rating Sheets
Students complete a form that rates the effectivness of the assigned readings.

Exam Evaluation
Students provide feedback about an exam's learning value and / or format.

bottom contact box

Have a question? Email: