Tools for Formative Assessment

One Minute Paper

Basic Strategy

One minute paper is a popular introductory active learning strategy that requires minimal preparation on the part of the instructor. During a one minute paper exercise students are given one minute to write a response to a prompt or question posed by the instructor. Minute papers can segue into a discussion or simply be collected for review by the instructor.

1 min paper cartoon

Why would you use it?

  1. Minute papers provide immediate feedback and allow quick response to students.
  2. This exercise can be easily facilitated for any class size.
  3. Allows students who are less vocal to participate.

When can you use it?

This technique is probably best used in lecture or discussion however it can easily be adapted to other settings such as labs, clinicals, or homework assignments. While this technique is flexible it is not universally applicable. Not all learning experiences can be assessed by a technique that asks students to note significant points or open questions. Be cognizant of your goal when choosing a classroom assessment technique.

How does it work?

  1. Decide what you want to focus on, where you want students to reflect on a topic.
  2. Write Minute Paper prompts that fit your class and meet your goal. The prompts are the heart of one minute papers.
  3. Set aside 5-10 minutes to facilitate, as well as time later to discuss the results.
  4. Share the question with students.
  5. After the chosen topic or activity is completed, hand out scraps of paper or index cards for students to record their response.
  6. Let students know how much time they will have, what kinds of responses you are looking for (words, bullets, short sentences), and when they can expect feedback.
  7. Collect the responses as or before students leave.
  8. Tabulate the responses and make note of useful comments.
  9. Respond to the students' feedback during the next class meeting. Share with students how responses will be used as a guide to plan the next instruction.

Sample Minute Paper Prompts

1minpaper example

Select here to download a sample One Minute Paper

Questions Designed to Assess Student Interests: For you, what interesting questions remain unanswered about today’s topic?

Identifying Perceived Relevance of Course Concepts: During today’s class, what idea(s) struck you as things you could or should put into practice?

Assess Student Attitudes/Opinions: Were there any ideas expressed in today’s class that caused you to reconsider or change your personal? opinions, viewpoints, or values?

Checking Student Comprehension: What did you perceive to be the major purpose or objective of today’s class?

Assessing Conceptual Connections (Cross-Concept Integration): Did you see any relationships between today’s topic and other topics previously covered in this course?

Other Ideas

Technology based options