Assessing Lesson Comprehension

At the End of the Day: What Have they Learned?

The final thing to include in your lesson plan is a little time at the end of each class in which to assess your students' comprehension. Many instructors assign short in-class quizzes and writing exercises. Here are a few examples:

  • The One-Minute Paper: Ask for a half-page response to one or both of these:
    • What's the most interesting or important thing you learned today?
    • What's the biggest question today's lesson left in your mind?
  • The Muddiest Point Paper: Hand out index cards and ask for a short response to:
    • What's the Muddiest Point in today's lecture, learning activity, reading assignment, etc?
  • The Who Did What Quiz: Ask your students to synthesize the important topical points of a lesson by summarizing in one grammatically correct sentence:
    • Who Did What to Whom, When, Where, How and Why?
  • The Principle Involved Quiz: Provide a short list of problems and ask your students:
    • What are the best principle(s) to apply in solving each problem?

These types of assessment exercises are rarely meant for grading purposes. They're mostly designed for taking the pulse of the classroom. Just a quick "down-and-dirty" that will tell you what your students are struggling with, what they aren't grasping, whether you need to revisit a topic and reteach content, or if you are back at square-one and need to revise the actual lesson plan.

NOTE: For a more comprehensive guide about creating lesson plans, please see Creating Lesson Plans, a TILT Teaching Guide.

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This Teaching Tip was adapted from material developed by Kerri Eglin for the Writing@CSU Web site at Colorado State University.


Peter Connor - TILT Web Content Writer and Editor