Some Quick Assessment Strategies

What Do Students Know?

Check in with students frequently to find out how much they understand; that way, you can address lingering questions or confusions, or&emdash;if students have a firm grasp of the material&emdash;move on to the next step. These easy techniques provide useful information about student comprehension.

Step 1: Planning Pick a simple assessment technique from below that appeals to you and plan when you'll implement it

Step 2: Implementing Dry run facilitating the assessment in your head--make sure your directions are clear and students understand why you're collecting this information

Step 3: Responding Be sure to "close the feedback loop" and tell the class what you learned from the information--use their words and feedback to guide your next steps (from Classroom Assessment Techniques)
The One-Minute Paper: 2 questions: What was the most important thing you learned during class? and What important question remains unanswered?

The Muddiest Point: 1 question: What was the muddiest point in ________?

One Word Whip/Write: Students quickly go around the room (no teacher intervention after direction-giving) and say one word about what they wrote, or one word to summarize how well they understand a concept

One-Sentence Summary: Ask students to summarize a body of information, class discussion, or text in one sentence--write down and discuss next class.

Turn To Your Partner: Students review a concept with a partner.

Directed Paraphrasing: Ask students to paraphrase for a particular audience part of a topic, concept, article, or text--the audience could be you or other students.

Teach Someone Else: Students describe how they would explain a concept to their roommates, or teach it to next semester's class.

Teaching the Class: List concepts covered recently. Ask students to fill out two index cards: Card 1: I have a question about _________. The question is: __________? Card 2: I can answer a question about ____________. Collect/redistribute Card 1; ask students to display Card 2. Read Card 1 aloud. See if anyone in the whole class can answer the questions (if not, the instructor should answer them).

Matching Cards: Make a set of paired cards: concepts and definitions, or concepts and examples. Give each student one card and ask them to find the student who has the other half of their set.

Mindmaps: Students use markers/large paper to link and draw connections between ideas, themes, or texts

Email Portfolios: Students write regular emails with skill focus (making strong claims, identifying consequences, etc.) and then hand in for evaluation on how they're learning that skill

Checklists: List concepts covered in the past few days/weeks. Ask students to circle any concept they do not think they could define or recognize, and put a star next to any concept they think they could recognize but not generate on their own.
for more, see

Angelo, T.A., & Cross, K.P. Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers. San Francisco: Josey-Bass, 1993.

Huba, Mary E. and Jann E. Freed. Learner-Centered Assessment on College Campuses: Shifting the Focus from Teaching to Learning. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon, 2000.

Silberman, Mel. Active Learning: 101 Strategies to Teach Any Subject. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1996.
(List compiled by Karlyn Crowley)