Short Classroom Assessment Techniques

Not all assessment measures are summative assessments—graded assessments that count towards a student’s course grade.

Short assessments can be used as formative assessments—assessments that measure student learning for class management or teaching purposes and do not affect the course grade. Formative assessments help instructors measure strengths and weaknesses, or eventual misunderstandings, that students might present concerning a particular topic. They are also useful as short reviews, memory aids, or as tools to refocus the class discussion.

Linked titles below present short assessments as Word documents for download.

Door Pass is useful at the end of class to take attendance and to compel concise writing out of the day’s points. If you are not in the business of taking attendance, the door pass can be an anonymous survey. Tally collected Door Passes to discover what types of questions your students have and which topics/concepts they remember at the end of class. You might revisit a topic next class period if a significant slice of the class has questions about it.

One Word Journal (One Word Chapter) is useful when you would like to ensure that everyone does the readings. When you assign extra readings to the class, ask students (a class time ahead) to complete the One Word Chapter form for next time. The form pushes students to engage the assigned reading before the next class and come up with one word that best captures its essence. The word chosen need not necessarily be a concept from the piece. It could be any word the student thinks best represents its meaning. The student writes the word at the top of the form and, in the space below, rationalizes the choice, explaining how the chosen word relates to topics previously studied in the course. In class, ask students randomly to give their words and their explanations. Ask several students. Display all words. Then ask for volunteers to give their words. Add any new word to the displayed list. Start your lecture by developing and explaining the connections between posted words.

KWL Response –  This short assessment method is good to use in lecture when you finish a topic, or at the end of a class to see how your students handle the topics you taught. Ask students to list K—something they now Know about the current topic, W—something they Would Still Like to Know, and L—something they learned as a result of the learning experiences in which they participated. f

Find more teaching strategies in:

Angelo, T. A., & Cross, K. P. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques: A handbook for college teachers. (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.