Focused Listing

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Focused Listing, as described by Angelo and Cross (1993), a useful technique for quickly gauging how well students have grasped a specific idea or concept. This works particularly well as a means of interrupting a lecture or following a close reading task. In a generic sense, the instructor identifies the specific idea or concept, what Angelo and Cross (1993) call the "focus point," and asks the students to develop a list of ideas that are "closely related" to that "focus point" (p. 126).

As with many formative assessment techniques, this is highly adaptable. The instructor could have each student create their own list on a sheet of paper or an index card, which could then be turned in for a quick in-class review or for a more thorough after-class review. This can be a useful method just-in-time teaching by enabling the instructor to adapt what comes next based on how the students respond. Faculty teaching in a media-equipped classroom could have students submit their lists through a web tool like PollEverywhere, so that the lists could be compiled and even sorted by the class as a whole. This can be a useful technique for challenging students to evaluate their own learning by having the decide as a class what are the most significant related ideas. In larger classes, faculty can have students share their lists in small groups to evaluate and teach one another.

Faculty using this technique should be sure to be extremely clear when identifying the "focus point" for this activity and should also give a precise time-limit for the listing activity. If students have learned what was intended, they should be able to develop a list in a short amount of time. Angelo and Cross recommend only two to three minutes.

References

Angelo, T. A., & Cross, K. P. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques: A handbook for college teachers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

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