Classroom assessment is a method for collecting information about student learning. As instructors, we assess students through tests, quizzes, papers and projects, and students receive feedback in the form of a grade. While graded assessment is necessary in the college classroom, ungraded assessment is equally valuable because it gives both the instructor and the students an opportunity to gauge how well the information is being learned before a grade is assigned. The goal of ungraded , or formative, classroom assessment is to provide early feedback about student learning and to reinforce course content.
Angelo and Cross state that classroom assessment "is an approach designed to help teachers find out what students are learning in the classroom and how well they are learning it." Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) are in-class activities that are ungraded, anonymous, and designed to help students strenghten their knowledge of the course materials. Instructors can also assess student reactions to the class giving them new insight into the practice of teaching and learning.
To begin using these techniques in your class, first clarify your own goals and expectations for student learning. The Teaching Goal Inventory on this page will help you to define your teaching goals and determine the relative importance of each goal to your course. Once you have established your goals, follow the steps in the classroom assessment cycle to plan and implement the appropriate techniques for your goals.
This site provides the information that you need to get started with formative assessment. Sample classroom assessment techniques are available on the web, and the library has several resources available to help you learn more about classroom assessment.