Empty Outline

Tools for Formative Assessment

Empty Outline

Basic Strategy

Students complete an empty to partially completed outline an in-class presentation or homework assignment. Students can work alone or in groups, depending on what is being assessed.

Why would you use?

This technique assists in improving attention, concentration and listening skills during course sessions with high stakes or detailed information.

When can you use?

This technique works best when a large amount of content is being presented. Use at the conclusion of the session. For large classes, students work in group so that instructors will have time to review student responses. Student responses can be compared to hose you expected, counting the number of students who agreed or disagreed with your responses for each item.

How does it work?

  1. Create an outline of the lecture, discussion or reading you wish to focus on.
  2. Make a conscious decision about the level on which you will focus the empty outline and the student’s attention (topics, subtopics, supporting details).
  3. When and how are students to complete the outline – from memory, with or without notes – limited the number of items on the outline.
  4. If you use a live lecture, include any changes that occurred during the live session on the empty outline.
  5. Let students know how long they will have to complete the outline, the purpose of the assessment, as well as when they will receive feedback.

Technology based options

Empty outlines can be formatted as an assignment in Canvas or a shared document such using Google or Microsoft 360.