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Using the Traffic Light Response to Improve Learning

As educators, we assume that students are learning what we teach. But students often do not learn as much as we expect, and high-stakes assessments reveal their knowledge gaps when it is too late to do anything about it. Thus, many instructors use classroom assessment techniques (CATs) to provide instant feedback while students are accessing learning content. These assessments also allow students to gauge their comprehension of content so they can seek help before the summative assessment (Cross & Angelo, 1993). This information can be used to adjust course content or teaching methods to assist students in making their learning more efficient and effective, such as speeding up or slowing down the pace of a lecture or explicitly addressing areas of confusion. Proper use of CATs provides concrete evidence that the instructor cares about learning, and it is particularly helpful for checking how students are learning early in the course and providing information for improvement when learning is unsatisfactory.

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