What Are CATs?
Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) are generally simple, non-graded, anonymous, in-class activities designed to give you and your students useful feedback on the teaching-learning process as it is happening.
Why Should I Use CATs?
CATs can be used to improve the teaching and learning that occurs in a class. More frequent use of CATs can…
- Provide just-in-time feedback about the teaching-learning process
- Provide information about student learning with less work than traditional assignments (tests, papers, etc.)
- Encourage the view that teaching is an ongoing process of inquiry, experimentation, and reflection
- Help students become better monitors of their own learning
- Help students feel less anonymous, even in large courses
- Provide concrete evidence that the instructor cares about learning
Where can I find CATs?
- 50 Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) | The Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching. (2014). Uky.edu.
- Classroom Assessment Techniques – Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. (2022, January 5). Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching.
How Should I Use CATs?
Results from CATs can guide teachers in fine-tuning their teaching strategies to better meet student needs. A good strategy for using CATs is the following:
- Decide what you want to assess about your students’ learning from a CAT.
- Choose a CAT that provides this feedback, is consistent with your teaching style, and can be implemented easily in your class.
- Explain the purpose of the activity to students, and then conduct it.
- After class, review the results, determine what they tell you about your students’ learning, and decide what changes to make, if any.
- Let your students know what you learned from the CAT and how you will use this information.
Demo of This Technique
I use CATs routinely in my teaching and course design. They make, and KEEP, things interesting (which is great for active learning). They also provide a gold mine of informative data you can use in real time.
Here is a CAT in action (click the hyperlinks for How-to’s):
- I want to know what topics you all identify as the most “Teaching Tip Tuesday-worthy.”
- To find out, I will conduct a simple poll using Mentimeter and embed it in the STHLE.
- Teaching Tip Tuesday webpage (I could also use Google Forms or Microsoft Forms).
- My explanation: I’m interested in your feedback regarding the topics I should and shouldn’t cover in Teaching Tip Tuesdays; it will me determine and cover topics that are most relevant to you and avoid topics that aren’t. You can complete the survey via the STLHE TTT webpage.
- The survey will be available for 7 days from the day it is posted. I will review the results at the end of that period to determine what they tell me about your teaching tip needs.
- I will be using this information to help me determine what topics I should cover and will create a schedule of themes based on this data.
…See you next week for a new tip!
Attribution Statement: This resource was adapted from Mcdaniel, R. (2010, June 10). Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs). Vanderbilt University; Vanderbilt University. https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/cats/ which is licensed under CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0