Classroom Assessment Techniques


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  • One of the simplest CATs to help assess where students are having difficulties. The technique consists of asking students to jot down a quick response to one question: “What was the muddiest point in [the lecture, discussion, homework assignment, film, etc.]?” The term “muddiest” means “most unclear” or “most confusing.”
  • Prepare a handout with a matrix of three columns and several rows.  At the top of the first two columns, list two distinct concepts that have potentially confusing similarities (e.g. hurricanes vs. tornados, Picasso vs. Matisse).  In the third column, list the important characteristics of both concepts in no particular order.  Give your students the handout and have them use the matrix to identify which characteristics belong to each of the two concepts.  Collect their responses, and you’ll quickly find out which characteristics are giving your students the most trouble.
  • Classroom Assessment Techniques

    1. 1. Classroom Assessment Techniques Dr. Steve Sorden Director, CTLE-Prescott Faculty Brownbag Session September 25, 2012
    2. 2. The Value of Using CATs in theClassroom WMV | FLV
    3. 3. Agenda• Examples of Classroom Assessment Techniques• Invited Speakers – Brian Davis – Julio Benavides – Angela Beck – Quentin Bailey• Discussion
    4. 4. The Classic on CATsThe standard reference on CATs is ClassroomAssessment Techniques: A Handbook for CollegeTeachers,Thomas A. Angelo and K. Patricia Cross (Jossey-Bass, 1993).Contains 50 college-level CATs thatare indexed in a variety of ways.
    5. 5. Classroom Assessment Techniques Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) are generally simple, non-graded, anonymous, in-class activities designed to give you and your students useful feedback on how well students are learning or are prepared to learn the class material. Most are designed to be quick and easy to use and each CAT provides different kinds of information.
    6. 6. Levels of Assessment• Summative Assessment – Course Level – Program Level• Formative Assessment – Classroom assessment is both a teaching approach and a set of techniques. – The more you know about what and how students are learning, the better you can plan learning activities to structure your teaching.
    7. 7. Why should I use CATs?CATs can be used to improve the teaching and learning thatoccurs in a class. More frequent use of CATs can… – Provide just-in-time feedback about the teaching-learning process – Provide information about student learning with less work than traditional assignments (tests, papers, etc.) – Encourage the view that teaching is an ongoing process of inquiry, experimentation, and reflection – Help students become better monitors of their own learning – Help students feel less anonymous, even in large courses – Provide concrete evidence that the instructor cares about learning
    8. 8. Why CATs Are ImportantASU Physics Professor David Hestenes had taught thefundamental concept of force to thousands of undergraduates.The students could recite Newton’s Third Law and apply it tosolving problems, but when posed a real-world event like acollision between a heavy truck and a light car, many firmlydeclared that the heavy truck exerts a larger force.This, despite being taught repeatedly during the semester thatan object’s weight is irrelevant to the force exerted.
    9. 9. Eric Mazur at HarvardMazur did a classroom assessment with his ownphysics students at Harvard. The first question one ofhis students asked:“How should I answer these questions—according towhat you taught me, or how I usually think about thesethings.”
    10. 10. How Should I use CATs1. Decide what you want to assess about your students’ learning from a CAT.2. Choose a CAT that provides this feedback, is consistent with your teaching style, and can be implemented easily in your class.3. Explain the purpose of the activity to students, and then conduct it.4. After class, review the results, determine what they tell you about your students’ learning, and decide what changes to make, if any.5. Let your students know what you learned from the CAT and how you will use this information.
    11. 11. Examples of CATs• The Muddiest Point • Keystroke Reports• The Minute Paper • Defining Features• Background Knowledge Matrix Probe • Online CATs• Self-Confidence • Classroom Response Surveys Systems• Empty Outlines
    12. 12. The Muddiest Point
    13. 13. The Minute PaperTests how students are learning, or not.The instructor ends class by asking students to write abrief response to the following question on a half sheetof paper: What is the most important thing I learned today and what did I understand the least?
    14. 14. Online Version of the Minute Paper1. What is the one thing that helped you most in this weeks activities?2. What is the one thing in this course that is least helpful to your learning? Useful as a quick ungraded assessment for the teacher, a reflective opportunity for the student, and a chance for mentoring and dialog with other students.
    15. 15. Two Minute Paper
    16. 16. The Background Knowledge ProbeThe BackgroundKnowledge Probe isa short, simplequestionnaire givento students at thestart of a course, orbefore theintroduction of a newunit, lesson or topic.It is designed touncover students’pre-conceptions.
    17. 17. Empty OutlinesIn a limited amount of time, outline some portion of thelecture or lesson.
    18. 18. Keystroke reports for technologyWith a partner, record the steps need to perform a taskusing a specific tool
    19. 19. What’s the Principle?Useful in courses requiring problem-solving. Afterstudents figure out what type of problem they aredealing with, they often must decide what principle(s)to apply in order to solve the problem.This CAT provides students with a few problems andasks them to state the principle that best applies toeach problem.
    20. 20. Defining Features MatrixBest used in courses that require student to distinguishbetween closely related or seeming similar items orconcepts.• Psychology – Freudian and behaviorist views• Political Science – Federalism in U.S., Germany & Canada• Biology – Neanderthals and Homo sapiens
    21. 21. Defining Features MatrixFeatures Institutional Classroom Assessment AssessmentTeacher-designed and directed - +Large sample sizes required + -Sophisticated statistical data analysis required + -Standardized and validated instruments preferred + -Focused o classroom teaching and learning - +Replicable and comparable + -Useful to students and teachers - +Useful to administrators + -Aims to improve quality of education + +
    22. 22. Double-Entry Journals• Provides detailed feedback on how students read, analyze, and respond to assigned texts, problems, and formulas.
    23. 23. Online CATs• Email• Surveys in Blackboard• Surveys in Google Docs• Journals in Blackboard
    24. 24. Classroom Response Systems (Clickers)• Poll Anywhere (mobile phones, twitter, texting and the web)• Top Hat Monocle -• Socrative (apps for iOS & Android)• i>clickers
    25. 25. ResourcesField Tested Learning Assessment Guide:CATs for Science, Math, Engineering, and TechnologyInstructors Assessment Techniques. Vanderbilt University. Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for CollegeTeachers. Angelo & Cross, 1993.
    26. 26. Classroom Assessment Techniques Dr. Steve Sorden Director, CTLE-Prescott Faculty Brownbag Session September 25, 2012