teacher working with a student on coursework

Classroom Assessment

Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) are quick techniques for assessing learning in your classroom.

Types of Classroom Assessment

Diagnostic Assessments (AKA “Baseline Assessments”)

  • Measure students’ knowledge, skills, and abilities before instruction (or additional instruction) takes place
  • Help you, the instructor, determine the most effective starting point for a lesson or course
  • Examples: Background Knowledge Checks, Misconception/Preconception Checks, Ice Breakers

Formative Assessments

  • Measure what students are learning in the midst of the teaching and learning process
  • Provide feedback that you can use to guide improvements during the semester or unit, or within a specific class period
  • Examples: Minute Paper, Muddiest Point, Memory Matrix, Journal
  • Note: Formative assessments are what most people think of when they refer to CATs because they take place during the learning process. However, CATs can also refer to diagnostic (and some summative) techniques.

Summative Assessments

  • Measure what students have learned from a unit, course, or program
  • Conducted at the end of a course or program, or after completing a specific section of a course (as classroom assessment)
  • Examples: sections of portfolios, performance tasks

Other Resources

Contact Information

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes
Faon Crystal, Director
Email: learningassessment@cod.edu