Techniques for Early Alert of
Students At Risk
Carleen Vande Zande, Ph.D.
Academic Leaders Workshop
Assessment for Early Alert
"Assessing for learning is a
process of inquiry into what
and how well students learn.”
Types of Assessments
Techniques as Formative
What are they?
Formative in nature
Learning activities for students
What can CATs measure?
Course-related knowledge and skills
Student attitudes, values and self-
Reactions to instruction methods
How can CATs influence teaching and
Provide frequent feedback
Provide useful information about what students have
learned or misunderstood
Address misconceptions in a timely way
Assist student to self-assess
Immediate feedback when it is still possible to make
Lower investment of time to gain useful information
about student learning
1. One-Minute Paper
During last few minutes of class, ask
students to do a quick-write
“The most important thing I learned today
and/or what I understood least.”
Instructor reviews before next class and can
clarify, correct, or elaborate in beginning of
2. Focused Listing
A brainstorming technique where you ask
students to generate words or phrases that
describe a concept
Can be used for discussion, review,
assessment of prior knowledge.
3. Pro/Con Grid
Quick Analysis of pros/cons,
advantages/disadvantages of a concept or
issue. Forces students to see many sides of
Pro and Con Grid
Please list the advantages and disadvantages of
using CATs in your instruction.
Advantages of CATS
Disadvantages of CATS
4. Analytic Memo
Students write a 1-2 page analysis of a
specific problem or issue for a specific
Students need to analyze and can then
make decisions or solve problems.
5. Concept Maps
Students draw a map connecting the major
topic with features, ideas and concepts they
Basis for review, discussion, overview of
topic. Good check for understanding.
6. Podcasting Problem Solving
Create a podcast of students solving a
problem or talking through a process. Ask
them to review for self-evaluation or you
can review for thinking errors.
7. Problem Recognition
Present students with scenarios and ask
them to identify the issue/problem.
Students identify what principle, theory,
technique is used to solve the problem.
8. Direct Paraphrasing
Ask students to relate what they have just
learned geared to a specific audience.
Assesses student ability to comprehend and
Directions: In no more than 1-2 concise sentences, define what
learning is. Write a definition that will make sense to your
colleagues. But try, at the same time, to go beyond the (hohum) obvious and give them something to think about.
Learning is. . .
9. One-sentence summary
Students summarize knowledge of a topic
by constructing a single sentence.
This requires students to select only the
defining features of an idea.
One Sentence Summary
Directions: To create a one-sentence summary, 1st answer all of the
questions below in relation to your topic. Then weave your separate
answers into 1 (or 2) summary sentences.
Does/Did/Will Do What?
10. Application Cards
After teaching a theory or procedure ask
students to write down at least one
application for what they have just learned.
Shows if students can transfer information
or if they understand the concept.
Directions: Please take a moment to recall the ideas, techniques, and strategies
we’ve discussed—and those you’ve thought up—to this point in the session.
Quickly list as many possible applications as you can. Don’t censor yourself!
These are merely possibilities. You can always evaluate the desirability and/or
feasibility of these application ideas later.
Applications of those
Techniques from this Session
11. Documented Problems
Ask students to solve a problem and
document the steps they took to do that
This will highlight thinking steps,
12. Application Article
During last 15 minutes of class, ask
students to write about how a major point
applies to a real-world situation or how the
point applies to their major.
Share examples in next class to illustrate
range of applications, depth of
Which have the most potential for your
Should they be graded? All ? Some?
Keep it simple
Let students know what you are doing
Recommendations for Use of CATs
Collect, sort and analyze the data looking
What did you observe?
What is your next step?
Share observations with students
Begin slowly…don’t force fit activity