What are CATs?
Classroom Assessment Techniques are formative evaluation methods that serve two purposes. They can help you to assess the degree to which your students understand the course content and they can provide you with information about the effectiveness of your teaching methods. Most are designed to be quick and easy to use and each CAT provides different kinds of information.
Formative evaluations provide information that can be used to improve course content, methods of teaching, and, ultimately, student learning. Formative evaluations are most effective when they are done frequently and the information is used to effect immediate adjustments in the day-to-day operations of the course. Some faculty incorporate a CAT into every class session.
How do CATs improve teaching and learning?
When CATS are used frequently, they can have the following impacts: For faculty, CATs can:
provide day-to-day feedback that can be applied immediately;
provide useful information about what students have learned without the amount of time required for preparing tests, reading papers, etc.;
allow you to address student misconceptions or lack of understanding in a timely way;
help to foster good working relationships with students and encourage them to understand that teaching and learning are on-going processes that require full participation.
For students, CATs can:
help develop self-assessment and learning management skills;
reduce feelings of isolation and impotence, especially in large classes;
increase understanding and ability to think critically about the course content;
foster an attitude that values understanding and long-term retention;
show your interest and caring about their success in your classroom.