3-2-1 Reflection Technique

Tools for Formative Assessment


Basic Strategy

The 3-2-1 is a quick reflective activity that encourages students to reflect on a course experience and organize their thoughts and identify areas of confusion or concern.

Why would you use it?

The 3-2-1 can be a helpful tool for getting students to organize their thoughts, and promote reflection and metacognition. This activity provides an easy way to check for understanding and gauge student interest. It is also an effective way to promote discuss or review material.

When can you use it?

This activity would traditionally be introduced toward the end of a lesson or after a lecture. It could also be used in response to an assigned reading.

How does it work?

In reaction to presented content, students are asked to take a few moments and jot down:

  • 3 ideas or learnings from what was presented
  • 2 examples of uses for how the ideas could be implemented
  • 1 unresolved area / muddiest point

Students are then asked to share their ideas in pairs or small groups. Use the responses to help guide teaching decisions. Consider areas of curriculum that need to be reviewed again or specific concepts or activities that are most interesting for students.

Dr. Oden shares her experience

Other ideas

  • Use 3-2-1 to transition into class discussion.
  • Student can complete 3-2-1 as individuals, pairs, or small groups.
  • Make the 3-2-1 questions content specific (differences, similarities, etc.)

Technology based options

3-2-1 could easily be adapted into an online discussion board activity or quiz on Canvas