Classroom Assessment Techniques

Classroom Assessment Techniques

What are Classroom Assessment Techniques?  The following YouTube video provides a brief introductory discussion of the purpose and use of classroom assessment techniques as well as two specific examples of types of techniques.

Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATS) are methods of formative evaluation that are designed to improve student learning. Unlike summative assessments that evaluate what the students learned once the lesson is complete, CATS are done frequently and provide the instructor with feedback about student learning and comprehension as the lessons are being taught.  These assessments involve students in the educational process and provide more qualitative information about student learning, rather than just looking at the quantitative view provided by test scores. The purpose of using classroom assessment techniques regularly is to assess student understanding of course content, provide feedback regarding the effectiveness of the teaching methods, to improve retention and improve the communication and collaboration between instructors and students. 

Advantages for faculty using CATS:

  • Provides regular feedback about learning that can be used to modify or adjust teaching methods.
  • Can address misconceptions or lack of understanding in a timely fashion before moving on to new material.
  • Fosters a good working relationship with students.
  • Encourages students to understand the material rather than just memorize for an exam.
  • Students are more engaged and more satisfied because they have an opportunity to have a voice in the classroom setting.

Advantages for students in a classroom where CATS are being utilized:

  • Fosters an attitude that values comprehension and retention.
  • Creates a feeling that the instructor cares about student success and learning.
  • Promotes critical thinking.
  • Reduces feelings of isolation.
  • Students become more involved in their own learning and feel more in control.

Disadvantages of CATS:

  • Classroom time is used for CATS.
  • Additional classroom time may be needed to review and clarify concepts.
  • Requires active participation on the part of students who may prefer to be more passive.
  • Teacher may view negative feedback as criticism of their teaching.

Classroom assessment techniques are designed to evaluate three areas. The first of these is course-related knowledge and skill which includes such things as recall, comprehension, critical thinking, synthesis, application, performance and problem-solving.  The second area that may be assessed is student attitudes and values and their own self-awareness of these areas.  Finally, CATS may be used to evaluate the students' reactions to instructional methods including class activities, assignments, teaching methods and so on.  The following chart summarizes some of the most commonly used techniques to assess each of these areas.

For a comprehensive chart of classroom assessment techniques that includes a variety of kinds of evaluations, a description of how each one is done and appropriate uses, as well as an estimate of the amount of time needed to complete each assessment technique, please follow the link below:
 

In summary, classroom assessment techniques may take additional time in the classroom but can be a valuable tool for both students and teachers in terms of improving the quality of instruction and student learning.  The following presentation provides additional information regarding classroom assessment and why it is valuable.

Suggested Readings

  • Angelo, T. A., & Cross, K. P. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques.
  • Bailey, K., & Brown, J. D. (1999). Learning about Language Assesment: Dilemmas, Decisions, and Directions & New Ways of Classroom Assessment. Learning, 4(2).
  • Cross, K. P., & Angelo, T. A. (1988). Classroom Assessment Techniques. A Handbook for Faculty.
  • Huba, M. E., & Freed, J. E. (2000). Learner centered assessment on college campuses: Shifting the focus from teaching to learning. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 24(9), 759-766.
  • Palomba, C. A., & Banta, T. W. (1999). Assessment Essentials: Planning, Implementing, and Improving Assessment in Higher Education. Higher and Adult Education Series. Jossey-Bass, Inc., Publishers, 350 Sansome Street, San Francisco, CA 94104.
  • Walvoord, B. E., & Anderson, V. J. (2011). Effective grading: A tool for learning and assessment in college. Wiley. com.

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Resource Links

Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATS) - This resources provides an overview of the use of various CATS and includes a chart that indicates the kind of evaluation for which each is intended, what each is called, how each is conducted, what to do with the information you collect, and an approximation of the relative amount of time each requires.

Classroom Assessments Techniques (CATS) - The following link provides a great introduction to the use of CATS, as well as links to additional resources.

Classroom Assessment Technique Examples -  Included in this link are examples and how-to information for a number of the most commonly used CATS.

How Classroom Assessments Improve Learning - Are classroom assessments worth the additional effort in terms of improving learning outcomes?  This link provides information into this important question.

Using Classroom Assessment to Change Both Teaching and Learning - The article linked here discusses the advantanges and disadvantages of using CATS and provides an overview of research regarding the effectiveness of using classroom assessment techniques to promote student learning.


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