Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) and Informal Student Feedback


CATs and other informal student feedback techniques are formative assessment methods that help an instructor monitor learning throughout the semester. They answer questions such as "Was my teaching effective?" or "What is still confusing students?" or “How can I improve the teaching and learning in this course?” Informal feedback techniques are especially useful for providing information for improvement when appropriate learning is not occurring.


General Resources

Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs)” by Lee Haugen (Iowa State University).
This concise introduction to CATs describes their characteristics and benefits for both teachers and students, then presents a chart of numerous CATs with directions, uses, and time needs.

"Do You Know Where Your Students Are? Classroom Assessment and Student Learning." Speaking of Teaching, Stanford University Newsletter on Teaching, Vol. 4, No. 2, Winter 1993. PDF/Adobe Acrobat.
A discussion of the need for student feedback on learning plus strategies for achieving this.

Sample Classroom Assessment Techniques (Indiana University-Bloomington, Campus Instructional Consulting).
Descriptions of eight commonly used CATs, including what to do with the data for each.

Field-tested Learning Assessment Guide (FLAG) for science, math, engineering, and technology instructors (National Institute for Science Education).
Click on "Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs)" to find extremely thorough instructional modules for many CATs useful in the sciences as well as other disciplines. Click on "Matching Goals to CATs" to find appropriate CATs for your own course goals.

A Handbook for Student Management Teams, Edward Nuhfer (Idaho State University, Center for Teaching and Learning).
The complete manual for using Student Management Teams (SMTs), a classroom strategy in which a team of students from the class meets regularly throughout the semester both with and without the professor “to discuss how teaching and learning might be improved and to define positive actions that will help reap immediate and long-term benefits.”

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