Educational Development Digest | March 2020

Classroom Assessment Techniques

Pedagogy and Practice

Have you heard about CATs? No, not the furry animal that mews, and no, not Campus Academic Technology Teams (CATTs). With all of the acronyms that get thrown around it is easy to confuse or not know what they are referencing. These CATs are Classroom Assessment Techniques: 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. These techniques benefit both instructors and students by providing strategies to assess student learning. 

Why should you use CATS? 

How do you know if your students are understanding the course concepts or able to perform necessary skills? Educators’ desires to know if their instructional strategies are facilitating or impacting student learning are supported with the use of CATs.

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 
  • Provide concrete evidence that the instructor cares about learning 

How should you 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:

  1. Decide what you want to assess about your students’ learning from a CAT. 
  2. Choose a CAT that provides this feedback, is consistent with your teaching style, and can be implemented easily in your class. 
  3. Explain the purpose of the activity to students, and then conduct it. 
  4. After class, review the results, determine what they tell you about your students’ learning, and decide what changes to make, if any. 
  5. Let your students know what you learned from the CAT and how you will use this information 

Learn More

Find Classroom Assessment Technique Resources on the NED Resource Site.

Do you have additional resources that you turn to for Classroom Assessment Techniques? If so, leave a comment below or post your suggestions on the NED Resource Site discussion board.

Creative Commons License

Large portions of text above were taken from Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching.
This teaching guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Assessment Event Opportunities

NED Event Highlight

Enjoy CATs and want to take assessment to the next level? CATs are only one aspect of assessments and are part of a larger assessment framework. On Monday, March 23, a 3 week short course begins titled Assessment of Student Learning. In this course, you’ll get an opportunity examine the learning objectives in your course and the assessments that are aligned to help measure and evaluate student achievement on the learning objectives. Spaces are still available to RSVP, so sign up soon! 

Get a preview of the short course during a March 10 and March 19 webinar.

Microsoft Translator for Education: real-time, multi-language captioning during PowerPoint presentations

Academic Technology Tips

Microsoft Translator for Education can be used to reach diverse learners and bridge some communication gaps. The product that is now available for education is supporting accessible classroom learning with live captioning and cross-language understanding through PowerPoint. 

This free feature is enabled by default in the online version of Microsoft’s presentation tool PowerPoint but it can also be enabled on the desktop version after downloading the PowerPoint add-in

To start presenting with real-time captioning, launch PowerPoint Online then open or create a new presentation.  Before starting your slide show, adjust the subtitle options as needed.  In the Slide Show group of the ribbon expand the Always Use Subtitles options to select your desired spoken and subtitle language (over 60 languages to choose from).  

Present with real-time captioning with options of other languages.

After starting the slide show, the presenter’s tool bar will briefly display in the lower left corner.  Hovering over the lower left corner will keep the contextual menu visible.  This menu has the option to toggle subtitles on or off by clicking on the captioning icon.  The captioning icon is the second to last icon.  It is to the right of the annotation tool and left of the end slide show button.

Presenter’s tool bar when presenting a slideshow. Captioning icon is the second to last option.

Use cases:  

Register for the 2020 Accessibility Symposium

Initiatives Update

March 20, 2020
9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Attend online via Zoom or in-person at Minnesota State University, Mankato (limited in-person spots available).

This free conference brings together learning space design staff, accessibility staff, administration, and faculty to make sure that accessibility and usability are always a key part of our learning space design strategy. 

We are focusing on the available technologies and how they meet, or don’t meet, the accessibility needs of students. Additionally, we will have a focus on the legal ramifications of accessibility by hosting accessibility advocate and world-renowned author of Structured Negotiation, A Winning Alternative to Lawsuits, Lainey Feingold. Lainey is a disability rights lawyer with a distinguished career in digital accessibility and structured negotiation. We will also bring in local experts from institutions that have responded to accessibility lawsuits.

Join us for an in-person social: CATTs and CFTDs

Share Your Voice

March 26, 2020
3:00 – 4:30 pm

Sheraton Bloomington Hotel
5601 West 78th Street
Bloomington, MN 55439

Before the 5th Annual Shark Tank Open

Staff from the Educational Innovations unit will be hosting an in-person social for those who participate in the Campus Academic Technology Teams (CATTs) and the Campus Faculty Development Teams (CFDTs).   

Join us prior to the start of the Shark Tank Open on Thursday, March 26 from 3:00-4:30 PM. If you plan on attending the Shark Tank Open afterward, please register separately.

In addition to socializing with colleagues from across the state, we have planned a fun, interactive, and practical professional development opportunity that will allow attendees to share examples of the work they do to support faculty at their campus. Attendees will be introduced to a model they can use to assess the impact of the faculty development programs offered at your campus.

All registered CATTs/CFDTs In-Person Social attendees will receive a copy of Peter Brown’s book, Make it Stick, to support your campus efforts to advance evidence based teaching practices and learning science. Attendees need to register to ensure we have enough copies of the book. Registration closes on Friday, March 20 at 11:30 PM

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