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Classroom Assessment Techniques (CAT's)

Classroom Assessment is "an approach (developed by Thomas Angelo and K. Patricia Cross) designed to help teachers find out what students are learning in the classroom and how well they are learning it" (p. 4).

Classroom Assessment is a formative assessment technique. This means it is designed "to improve learning progress by

  • providing teachers with the kind of feedback they need to inform their day-to-day instructional decisions, and by
  • providing students with information that can help them learn more effectively."

Step-By-Step Procedure

  1. Select a class/course that you want to focus on and articulate your goal.
  2. Select a Classroom Assessment Technique (CAT). There are 50 different techniques included in the Handbook, and there are three indexes for finding CATs: an alphabetical index (p. 109); examples by discipline (pp. 110-112); and categorization by their response to "Teaching Goals" (pp. 113-14).
  3. Follow the recommendations for using the CAT you've selected.
  4. Make sure to allow sufficient time in you classroom schedule to conduct the CAT, and to provide feedback to you students about the results.
  5. Be sure to close the communication loop. Once you've shared what you have learned from the CAT with your students, discuss how both of you can use the information to improve your teaching and their learning.

Benefits for Faculty

  1. You are more easily able to determine students' comprehension of the content.
  2. Any misperceptions can be quickly determined and managed.
  3. You can respond to your students in a way that best addresses the issues, e.g., in writing, orally, individually, the entire class, etc.
  4. Classroom Assessment Techniques are equally useful in large or small classes.

Benefits for Students

  1. CATs provide an opportunity for closure and review of what's occurred in class.
  2. CATs provide an opportunity to articulate what they understand and what they're still unsure about.

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