Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers provides detailed information on various ways to examine student success. Ironically, I am currently assisting with research on student course evaluations and I have been shocked by the number of negative course evaluations that faculty members say that they receive that focus on ineffective testing or assessments. In this book, Angelo and Cross provide insight that could be helpful to faculty as they decide how and when to assess what their students are learning. The Teacher Goals Inventory allows faculty members to set clear expectations for their students. I have found that professionally I have been most successful when I can identify clear expectations, so I try to apply it to the classroom. Teacher designed feedback forms could help decrease any ambiguity in the classroom instruction and objectives by considering student input during the course as opposed to after. This is perhaps the most poignant point of the book, that student feedback and progress should be assessed during classroom instruction to help increase student success. As I have carried this over into my managerial style I often reflect on how frequently teachers forget that students need clear guidance on what they will be tested on.
I appreciated the reinforcement of faculty providing a cooperative environment where student motivation is the result of engagement with faculty (p. 305). I’m not sure if we as faculty always think about this, but this reading along with the Barkley and Bain readings were grouped perfectly to provide helpful tips. The readings also reminded me of the ultimate purpose of classroom instruction. This book is a great conclusion to the course readings because assessment is often how classroom success, on the part of the teacher and students are measured. “The central purpose of Classroom Assessment is to empower both teachers and their students to improve the quality of learning in the classroom” (p. 4). The course related self-confidence surveys could be particularly helpful in speech and presentation courses.
The 50 Classroom Assessment Techniques or CATs are divided into categories: Techniques for assessing course-related knowledge and skills, Techniques for assessing learner attitudes, values and self-awareness; Techniques for assessing learner reactions to instruction.
Out of the 50 CATs The Minute Paper stood out the most. I had never heard of it in a higher education setting, but will be using for frequently. I normally start class with some type of ice breaker. A current event, topic from the previous class session or journal entry are ways that I have been able to engage students. I realize now that the minute paper may be a more effective use of that time and I could do it at the end of the class session. This would allow me to see how students articulate, on paper, the information presented. The third CAT, Misconception/Preconception Check could have saved me a lot of class time in the beginning of my teaching career. When students are asked to address current event topics or concerns they may not always realize the information that they already know that can block them from being able to interpret information critically.
This book will be one of the most used books on my book shelf! Not only was it well written and fairly easy to process, but it was also written in a way that I will be able to refer to it as a guide or reference book easily. This can be especially useful when teaching training or nontraditional courses where assessments may need to take place at a faster. I also think this book, or at least the CATs should be mentioned and provided for graduate teaching assistants. The assessments could prevent the backlash of the first assessment being a midterm or final exam. Overall, this was an excellent read and I will definitely recommend it to my peers.