There are hundreds of variations of classroom assessment techniques. Below are some of the more commonly known techniques:
3-2-1 Format is a quick and simple student writing activity.
Focused Listing is a quick and simple student writing activity.
Muddiest Point is a quick and simple technique where students identify a challenging or confusing concept.
One Minute Paper
One minute paper is an introductory technique for a student writing activity.
Think-Pair-Share is a quick and easy technique that has students working in pairs to answer questions posed by the instructor.
Concept Mapping is an intermediate technique that asks students to create ways of representing and organizing ideas and concepts.
Jigsaw is an advanced technique where students teach each other assigned topics.
Memory matrix is an intermediate technique that asks students to create a structure for organizing large sets of information.
Quiz Show is an intermediate technique that uses a game show format for review sessions.
Filter by technique:
The 3-2-1 format is a quick reflective activity similar to think-pair-share. It encourages students to reflect on a course experience and organize their thoughts and identify areas of confusion or concern.
Similar to minute papers, muddiest point, and think-pair-share, the 3-2-1 Format can be a helpful tool for getting students to organize their thoughts, and promote reflection and metacognition. This activity provides an easy way to check for understanding and gauge student interest. It is also an effective way to promote discuss or review material.
This activity would traditionally be introduced toward the end of a lesson or after a lecture. It could also be used in response to an assigned reading.
In reaction to presented content, students are asked to take a few moments and jot down:
Students are then asked to share their ideas in pairs or small groups. Use the responses to help guide teaching decisions. Consider areas of curriculum that need to be reviewed again or specific concepts or activities that are most interesting for students.
3-2-1 Format could easily be adapted into an online discussion board activity.
Focus Listing activity focuses on one concept, term, or topic. Students are asked to provide several ideas related closely with the one concept, term, or topic.
The purpose of this activity is to help instructors determine what students are able to recall for the main points of a lesson. The preparation and follow-up for a Focused Listing activity is minimal. The Focused Listing activity can help students in several ways:
Before, during or after a lesson; works well in classes of all sizes. Focused listings are great follow ups to short presentations during which participants are asked to absorb information that is new and that is vital to the discussion to follow. The listing works well to introduce a topic, as an exercise joining/synthesizing two sets of information (lecture plus follow up reading, two lectures), and as something to return to as a wrap up so that participants can compare before/after thinking.
Focused Listing could easily be adapted into an online discussion board activity or a shared OneDrive document activity.
Muddiest Point is probably the simplest classroom assessment technique available. It is a quick monitoring technique in which students are asked to take a few minutes to write down the most difficult or confusing part of a lesson, lecture, or reading. It is simple to create and facilitate. In fact, it only takes 15 minutes to collect and scan approximately 100 muddiest points. While it is easy to use, be careful not to over-use this or any single assessment technique. Over using one technique can fatigue students and devalue the process.
Use this assessment technique any time, after students have had an opportunity for learning to progress them toward the learning target. This technique is especially helpful if students seem to be having difficulty grasping a concept or process.
This strategy can be presented in many forms:
One minute paper is a popular introductory active learning strategy that requires minimal preparation on the part of the instructor. During a one minute paper exercise students are given one minute to write a response to a prompt or question posed by the instructor. Minute papers can segue into a discussion or simply be collected for review by the instructor.
This technique is probably best used in lecture or discussion however it can easily be adapted to other settings such as labs, clinicals, or homework assignments. While this technique is flexible it is not universally applicable. Not all learning experiences can be assessed by a technique that asks students to note significant points or open questions. Be cognizant of your goal when choosing a classroom assessment technique.
For you, what interesting questions remain unanswered about today’s topic?
Were there any ideas expressed in today’s class that caused you to reconsider or change your personal? opinions, viewpoints, or values?
What did you perceive to be the major purpose or objective of today’s class?
Did you see any relationships between today’s topic and other topics previously covered in this course?
Think-pair-share can be a great technique for facilitating discussion. It is a quick and simple technique to adopt. Faculty present a question or challenge, students reflect quietly and then partner with someone to discuss. A think-pair-share session could be 5 to 15 minutes.
This exercise engages the class with content on multiple levels. It can help organize prior knowledge, deepen the level of content analysis, and improves the quality of student contributions. Think-pair-share is a popular technique because sharing ideas with a peer in a group of two is “low risk” compared to sharing an individual idea with an entire class.
Use think-pair-share when you want students to talk over new ideas or critically think about concepts presented in the lesson. This technique can be easily used ‘on the fly’ and works in small or large classes.
Think-pair-share does not adapt easily to online learning environments. It can be done but requires more work to create groups, private discussion boards, etc.
Concept maps are drawings or diagrams used to help students organize and represent knowledge of a subject. Concept maps begin with a main idea (or concept) and then branch out to show how that main idea can be broken down into specific topics.
This activity provides an observable action of the student’s patterns of understanding related to a central idea or concept. Concept mapping serves several purposes:
Concept maps require a lot of cognitive work on the part of the student, and a lot of preparation and analysis on the part of the instructor. Be sure you have tested the concept map activity yourself and given the class the appropriate amount of time to complete the activity. Usually this means twice the amount of time it took you, the expert, to complete. This activity is useful in any course with high theoretical content, courses with large amounts of facts and principles.
There are numerous software tools where students can create concept maps digitally.
Jigsaw involves students doing individual research on a subset of a given subject area, and then piecing their research together with other students “to build the whole picture”. Jigsaw exercises challenge students to engage in reciprocal teaching and can be a popular activity for courses that rely on heavy transference of information.
Jigsaw requires a moderate to high amount of faculty preparation and takes a fair amount of class time. Do not overuse this technique, as repeating too often can feel contrived (it is not very flexible). It should be used no more than twice per semester.
Jigsaw is a variation on a simpler activity in which students come and present directly to their group on a topic of research. By adding the intermediate task of meeting as an “expert group” ensures some quality of ideas and materials. This technique also gives individual students a chance to build confidence in a subject area before presenting to peers.
Jigsaw can be used in a single class session or across multiple sessions.
Jigsaw is an activity that can be adapted to online learning.
Memory Matrix is a simple, two-dimensional table divided into rows and columns. The table is used to organize information and identify relationships in the content. Some cells in the table are intentionally left blank where students are asked to fill in the blank cells, demonstrating their understanding of the content. There is moderate investment of time required on behalf of faculty to create the matrix and then analyze the results.
|Superior||Ex., Above, in an upward direction, toward the head||Ex., The head is superior to the neck of the body|
|Anterior (ventral)||(Fill in)||(Fill in)|
|Posterior (dorsal)||(Fill in)||(Fill in)|
The technique provides a structure for students to organize and synthesize complicated information. This exercise works well with large amounts of content and can simplify complex, dynamic systems of information. Faculty can identify prior or incorrect knowledge.
Memory matrix is simple to implement and easy to use during instruction however there is some up-front preparation that must be completed. Consider content carefully. Content needs to appropriately align with column and row organization. This exercise is effective after lectures, videos, reading assignments, etc.
Use Google Spreadsheet to have small groups, or individuals fill cells.
Quiz Show uses quiz game show format (e.g. Jeopardy or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire) to rapidly move through a series of questions with students. This strategy is popular for introducing game mechanics (points, competition) into a classroom activity.
Quiz Show is popular for review sessions for reinforcing important information or but is usually not considered a good way to introduce content. The game format of a quiz show activity can be to keep students engaged although it should be used in moderation as it lacks authenticity to real world applications of knowledge.
Quiz Show is popular for review sessions before major assessment events. Quiz show could be used in short 5-10 minute segments or could easily fill an hour session.
Present a grid (or list) of questions on a whiteboard or PowerPoint. When crafting questions be mindful of the standard advice on writing multiple choice questions. Depending on class size you would likely divide students into groups. Student can be given a “bell” to ring in, or simply rotate between students. Quiz show is more appropriate for short answer questions not open ended questions.
Quiz Show Review does not adapt easily to online learning environments.
Originally developed by MGH Institute of Health Professions, modified and reposted with permission.