Teaching Tip: One Sentence Summary

Angelo and Cross (1993) describe 50 different classroom assessment techniques (CATs).  The purpose of a classroom assessment technique is for the instructor to determine whether students have understood the material.  The one sentence summary is designed to let the instructor know whether students can accurately synthesize what they have learned about a topic.  To use the technique, provide students with the following prompts:  who? did what? to whom? when? where? how? why?  Ask the students to write phrases that answer these questions, and then have them integrate their phrases into one grammatically correct sentence. Although Angelo and Cross (1993) recommend using the one sentence summary as a way to assess what students have learned, the task could be modified to focus on helping students to learn.  Rather than just collecting students’  one sentence summaries, have students collaborate in groups to improve the quality of their summaries.  The one sentence summary can also be useful in focusing students’ attention when they watch a video in class.  Provide students with the prompts before the video begins, and have them write and share their one sentence summaries after the video. For a more complete discussion of one sentence summaries including examples and tips for success, view this video: http://youtu.be/Y8yOl45cDcQ.

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