Table of Contents


Information for specific audiences:

Adapted from Angelo & Cross (1993)

To see the appropriate assessment techniques for given Primary Teaching Goal and Assessment categories, make a selection from the dropdown menu below.


  • Analytic Memos - students write a one- or two-page analysis of a specific problem using discipline-specific techniques. Because assessing responses takes more time, this technique is best suited to small classes.
  • Annotated Portfolios - students provide a limited number of examples of creative work along with a commentary on the significance of those examples in relation to the course content or goals. This technique helps faculty see how well students can apply what they have learned.
  • Application Cards - students are asked to write down at least one possible, real-world application for what they have just learned. This helps them connect learned concepts with prior knowledge and can be used in any course and class.
  • Approximate Analogies - students complete the second half of an analogy - A is to B as X is to Y - for which the instructor has supplied the first half (A is to B). This can be used in any discipline and class.
  • Assignment Assessments - students respond to two or three open-ended questions about the value of an assignment to their learning. This is most useful in advanced or graduate classes and can be applied to any discipline.
  • Audio- and Videotaped Protocols - students capture each other while solving problems, view the recordigs, and comment on what was displayed. This technique is feasible with very small numbers of students and particularly useful in quantitative, vocational, or educational fields.
  • Background Knowledge Probe - a simple questionnaire to measure students’ knowledge of certain topics or concepts. It provides feedback on the range of students' preparation and is most useful at the start of a new course, lesson, or topic.
  • Categorizing Grid - students are presented with a grid containing two or three important categories along with a scrambled list of subordinate items and are given a limited time to sort the subordinate items into the correct categories on the grid. This is most useful in introductory-level courses.
  • Chain Notes - in less than a minute, students respond on an index card to an open-ended question about a class. This technique elicits feedback from students about teaching at a given time during a class and contributes to faculty awareness of students' level of engagement.
  • Classroom Assessment Quality Circles - groups of students provide ongoing, structured assessment to course materials and assignments. This serves two purposes: 1) provides regular feedback to the instructor on students’ assessments of class sessions and materials, and 2) offers students an opportunity to be actively involved in their learning.
  • Classroom Opinion Polls - students indicate degree of agreement or disagreement with a particular statement. This technique can be used to prepare students to discuss a controversial issue and can be adapted to any class size.
  • Concept Maps - students draw a diagram of nodes arranged in hierarchical order, each containing concept labels, which are linked together with directional lines. This assesses how well students see the big picture as well as their metacognitive skills.
  • Content, Form, and Function Outlines - students write a quick outline of the "what" (content), "how" (form), and "why" (function) components of a particular message. This helps faculty assess their analytical skills.
  • Course-Related Self-Confidence Surveys - students complete a simple questionnaire measuring their self-confidence in relation to a specific skill or ability. This can be used by faculty in every discipline and in very large classes to more effectively structure assignments that build confidence and enhance learning.
  • Defining Features Matrix - students are asked to categorize closely related concepts according to the presence or absence of important characteristics. Since this technique is used in a matrix format, students’ responses are easy to score and analyze.
  • Diagnostic Learning Logs - students keep records of each class or assignment and reflect on what they understood or were successful in doing and what was unclear or difficult. This helps students become more independent learners and provides faculty with insight into students’ skills as learners.
  • Directed Paraphrasing - students paraphrase part of a lesson for a specific audience and purpose in their own words. This is especially useful for assessing students' ability to translate highly specialized information into language that non-experts can understand.
  • Documented Problem Solutions - students record the steps they take in solving a problem. This is especially useful for assessing problem-solving in highly quantitative courses or in disciplines that teach structured approaches to problem-solving.
  • Double-Entry Journals - students write down the most meaningful or most controversial ideas in their assigned course readings. This is better applied to a very short text or just a few pages of a longer text.
  • Electronic Mail Feedback - students evaluate the instructor’s teaching by responding to an email sent by the instructor. This provides a quick and convenient channel of communication between instructors and students and may be particularly useful before or after exams.
  • Empty Outlines - students are provided with an empty or partially completed outline of a presentation or assignment and asked to fill in the blanks. It works best in courses with a large amount of structured content.
  • Everyday Ethical Dilemmas - students respond anonymously to a case study that poses an ethical problem related to their discipline. This technique is best suited to pre-professional and professional education as well as liberal arts courses. It gives both faculty and students a better understanding of how values affect decision-making.
  • Exam Evaluations - students provide feedback on an exam’s value as a learning and assessment tool. This is most useful if applied soon after students have completed an exam.
  • Focused Autobiographical Sketches - students write a one- or two-page description of a successful learning experience related to the course material. This is particularly useful in introductory courses likely to cause greater student anxiety and is better adapted to very small classes.
  • Focused Listing - directs students to list several ideas that are related to a central point. It is used to determine how well students remember important ideas related to a particular concept or topic.
  • Goal Ranking and Matching - students list a few learning goals they hope to achieve and rank their relative importance. Faculty can use this feedback to assesses the correspondence between their own learning goals and these of their students. By incorporating students’ goals into the syllabus, faculty can increase student motivation.
  • Group Instructional Feedback Technique - students are polled on three questions about the class from someone other than the instructor: "What works?", "What doesn’t?", and "What can be done to improve it?" This works best if applied before the middle of the term by allowing the instructor to address any problems in the class.
  • Group-Work Evaluations - students complete a brief survey about how their group is functioning. This helps faculty discover group conflicts and is useful in courses where students regularly work in groups.
  • Human Tableau or Class Modeling - students perform scenes or model processes to show what they have learned. This group assessment technique helps students transform their learning into doing and is best used in relatively small classes.
  • Interest/Knowledge/Skills Checklist - students complete a checklist survey of topics covered in the course indicating their levels of interest or knowledge. This technique can be used by faculty to adjust their syllabi in response to students’ levels of interest and skill. It is best suited to graduate courses and seminars.
  • Invented Dialogues - students synthesize issues, personalities, and historical periods into the form of a carefully structured conversation. They can either use actual quotes or invent their own quotes that fit the characters and the context. This stimulates their creativity and is particularly useful in humanities and social sciences.
  • Memory Matrix - a table with given row and column headings and empty cells to illustrate how well students can organize information and illustrate relationships. It can be used in introductory courses with substantial and clearly categorizable information or as a pre-instructional assessment of student knowledge.
  • Minute Paper - students are asked to respond briefly to two questions: "What was the most important thing you learned during this class?" and "What important question remains unanswered?" The next time the class meets the instructor addresses the questions raised by the students to facilitate discussion.
  • Misconception/Preconception Check - identifying common misconceptions and incorporating them into a simple questionnaire to elicit information about prior knowledge or beliefs that may hinder learning. It is particularly useful in social and behavior science courses.
  • Muddiest Point - students write down a quick response to one question: "What was the muddiest point in....?" This technique helps faculty discover which points are most difficult for students to learn and decide how much time to spend on each topic during class.
  • One-Sentence Summary - students answer the questions "Who does what to whom, when, where, how, and why?" in one sentence.
  • Paper or Project Prospectus - students prepare a plan for a term paper or project that includes title, purpose, questions to be answered, work calendar, table of contents (for paper) or measurable outcomes (for project), help/resources needed, and concerns. This is best used immediately after a project or paper is assigned.
  • Pro and Con Grid - students list pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages of an issue presented by the instructor. This technique works particularly well in humanities and social sciences courses.
  • Problem Recognition Tasks - students are presented with a few examples of common problem types and asked to identify the particular type of problem each example represents. This is particularly suited to quantitative and technical fields but can also be applied to problem-solving in other disciplines.
  • Process Analysis - students record the actual steps they take in carrying out an assignment and comment on their approaches to that assignment. This helps students analyze their methods of working while faculty gain an understanding of students’ difficulties in doing academic work.
  • Productive Study-Time Logs - students keep records of how much time they spend studying for a class, when they study, and how productive they are at various times of the day. This helps them assess the amount of time spent studying and their efficiency as compared to those of their peers.
  • Profiles of Admirable Individuals - students write a brief profile of an individual whom they admire, in a field related to the course. This technique is particularly appropriate for ethics courses and in pre-professional training.
  • Punctuated Lectures - after listening to a lecture or demonstration, students write down a reflection on their level of attentiveness and how it may have affected their understanding of the information. This encourages them to become better listeners.
  • Reading Rating Sheets - students complete a form that evaluates the effectiveness of their assigned readings. This is useful in courses where faculty have some choice in assigning readings.
  • RSQC2 (Recall, Summarize, Question, Comment, and Connect) - students write brief statements that recall, summarize, question, connect, and comment on meaningful points from the previous class. This technique is best used at regular intervals and can especially benefit students who lack preparation in the particular discipline.
  • Self-Assessment of Ways of Learning - students pick their learning style out of several different profiles. This helps instructors understand their students\' preferences for learning.
  • Student-Generated Test Questions - students prepare test questions and model answers. This technique is best administered several weeks before a major test to allow time for appropriate adjustments to teaching and studying.
  • Teacher-Designed Feedback Forms - students respond to short evaluation forms prepared for the specific course. This allows faculty to elicit responses to specific questions and can help them get better evaluations at the end of the semester by responding to students’ feedback early on.
  • What’s the Principle? - students are presented with a few problems and asked to identify the principle that can be used to solve each problem. Like Problem Recognition Tasks, this technique is very well suited to quantitative and scientific fields that use algorithms in solving problems but can also be applied in social sciences.
  • Word Journal - students summarize a short text in a single word and then write one or two paragraphs explaining why they chose this particular word. This is best used to assess understanding of short texts or articles.

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