Improving Student Learning Using Classroom Assessment Techniques

Jon Stratton, Walla Walla Community College

June 26-28, 2003 in Seattle, Washington

Course Description

With the current national emphasis on assessment, many faculty feel the need to understand and employ effective assessment of student learning and of their own classroom teaching.  Classroom assessment techniques (CATs) are very well suited to meet this need.  CATs are ungraded, anonymous feedback instruments used to evaluate and improve both student learning and faculty instruction.

This course will focus on discussion and hands-on assessment opportunities.  Initially, participants will review the rationale for classroom research and assessment.  After completing a teaching goals inventory, they will examine, practice, and evaluate specific CATs, with an eye to adaptation in their own courses.  Participants will practice interpreting actual student feedback data, and will practice various techniques.

At the simplest level, CATs are used to discover how well students have learned what teachers want them to learn on a given day.  After examining the results, teachers can modify instruction accordingly.  For example, a teacher solicits from each student an anonymous written response to the question, “What is the most important thing you’ve learned today?”  Reviewing the results provides the teacher with reactions to two (at least) important questions:  How well did the students learn what the teacher thinks is “the most important thing” taught today?  What clues for improving instruction in this specific class are contained in the responses?

On a more complex level, CATs are context-dependent, interactive, multiple-focused, formative, largely qualitative assessments.  They are “conversational” rather than “standardized,” “personal” rather than “disengaged.”  Participants will work from Classroom Assessment Techniques, by Thomas A. Angelo and K. Patricia Cross. 

For college and high school teachers of all disciplines.

Prerequisites: none  

Jon Stratton is an Instructor in Philosophy and Humanities Division Chair at Walla Walla Community College in Washington State.  Dr. Stratton has given presentations in Classroom Assessment Techniques at several Outcomes Assessment Conferences and Abilities Institutes in Washington.   He presented CATs workshops at the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development at the University of Texas (NISOD) in 1997 and 1998.  He was awarded the NISOD Excellence Award for teaching in 1998, and the Exemplary Status Award from the Washington State Community College Humanities Association in 1997.  Dr. Stratton has led a number of workshops for college faculty in outcomes assessment with an emphasis on critical thinking.  He is the author of Critical Thinking for College Students (Rowman and Littlefield, 1999). 


Location information

See above

This course will be held on or near the University of Washington campus. University of Washington dorm accommodations are available for this course. Link to UW Housing/Dorms for more information.


To Register

Please go to the National Chautauqua site at the University of Pittsburgh site to apply. Registrations cannot be confirmed without payment.


Participant Information

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