346. Classroom Assessment Techniques

Classroom assessment techniques can be used to shape instruction to the needs of our students. In this episode, Thomas A. Angelo joins us to discuss the origin of these techniques and evidence concerning their efficacy.

Tom is Clinical Professor Emeritus and Director Emeritus at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition to teaching for 40 years, he has been long involved in professional development and has served as faculty member and Director of teaching, learning and assessment centers at UNC, LaTrobe University in Melbourne, Australia, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, the University of Akron, and Boston College. Tom is best known for his work with K. Patricia Cross on Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers, which was first published in 1988, with a second edition in 1993.

Show Notes

  • Cross, K. P., & Angelo, T. A. (1988). Classroom Assessment Techniques. A Handbook for Faculty. Jossey Bass Wiley.
  • Angelo, T. A., & Cross, K. P. (1993). 2nd. Ed. Classroom assessment techniques. Jossey Bass Wiley.
  • Angelo, T.A. and Zakrajsek, T. (2024). 3rd. Ed. Classroom Assessment Techniques: Formative Feedback Tools for College and University Teachers. Jossey Bass Wiley.
  • Schwartz, Charles (1991). “An Academic Adventure.” March 4. – A description of the origin of the minute paper by it’s originator.
  • Chizmar, J. F., & Ostrosky, A. L. (1998). The One-Minute Paper: Some Empirical Findings. Journal of Economic Education, 29(1), 3–10. (the article that John referenced as his first reference to this topic)
  • Mazur, E. (1997). Peer instruction: A user’s manual. Pearson
  • Mazur, E. (2014). “Confessions of a Converted Lecturer” – a recording of a presentation by Eric Mazur at SUNY Oswego, 5/19/14
  • Fink, L. D. (2013). Creating significant learning experiences: An integrated approach to designing college courses. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Pam Hook and Josie Roberts (2018). “The who, what, when, where, and why of SOLO taxonomy.”
  • Angelo, T.A. (1993). “A Teacher’s Dozen—Fourteen General Research-Based Principles for Improving Higher Learning.
  • Pre-order for 3rd edition of Classroom Assessment Techniques: Formative Feedback Tools for College and University Teachers.


John: Classroom assessment techniques can be used to shape instruction to the needs of our students. In this episode, we discuss the origin of these techniques and evidence concerning their efficacy.


John: Thanks for joining us for Tea for Teaching, an informal discussion of innovative and effective practices in teaching and learning.

Rebecca: This podcast series is hosted by John Kane, an economist…

John: …and Rebecca Mushtare, a graphic designer…

Rebecca: …and features guests doing important research and advocacy work to make higher education more inclusive and supportive of all learners.


Rebecca: Our guest today is Thomas A. Angelo. Tom is Clinical Professor Emeritus and Director Emeritus at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition to teaching for 40 years, he has been long involved in professional development and has served as faculty member and Director of teaching, learning and assessment centers at UNC, LaTrobe University in Melbourne, Australia, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, the University of Akron, and Boston College. Tom is best known for his work with K. Patricia Cross on Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers, which was first published in 1988, with a second edition in 1993. Even if you’ve never heard of these books, you may have included some Classroom Assessment Techniques in your teaching toolkit. Welcome, Tom.

Tom: Good to be here.

John: We’re very happy to talk to you. Today’s teas are:… Tom, are you drinking tea by any chance?

Tom: No, I was drinking black coffee.

Rebecca: It’s one of our most popular forms of tea [LAUGHTER] as regular listeners know. Today have some English tea time, John. How about yourself?

John: …and I have an Earl Grey tea today.

Tom: Excellent.

Rebecca: We’ve invited you here today, Tom, to discuss the third edition of Classroom Assessment Techniques, to be published shortly. These techniques described in earlier editions of this book have been widely adopted by faculty in all disciplines at all different types of institutions. And a lot has changed in higher education since 1993. But this book is still the go to reference on classroom assessment techniques, which is pretty impressive [LAUGHTER] for a book that was published 30 years ago. Can you talk a little bit about the origin of this book?

Tom: Well, I think the origin of the book goes back to the fact that when I was a young teacher, I recognized pretty early that many of the things that I was doing didn’t work and didn’t work for my students, and that I had to accept that things that had worked very well for me as a student weren’t working for many of them. So I began to experiment with asking questions in a variety of different ways and getting students to jot down answers anonymously. And through that, I really learned more about teaching and learning, I think, than from anything else that I did. And one of the things that I learned was not to assume. So, classroom assessment techniques are things that I’m sure almost every teacher has done. But what we did in the 1980s. K. Patricia Cross and I, was to really formalize those. And we did that in order to create a resource for teachers so that they could find simple tools that would help them ask students the kinds of questions that would help students learn better, and teachers teach better, as they went along. So it really began at that time, and it was kind of an accidental start, in many ways. We were doing it as part of a big project, and what was then the assessment movement, and it just kind of took off.

John: Most of our listeners are probably quite familiar with classroom assessment techniques and have seen them at lots of workshops and have probably, as Rebecca noted before, used them in the past. Could you define what a classroom assessment technique is, for those listeners who are new to the concept?

Tom: Well, in a formal way, a classroom assessment technique is a formative assessment technique. It’s a way of gathering data to use to improve and inform practice, rather than to make judgments. So we have too, most of us, to give students tests and exams and assign papers, and grade their work, evaluate their work, for grades and marks. Formative assessment techniques, on the other hand, are tools that we use to gather data along the way, before those moments in which we grade them, or mark them, so that we can help students get ready and improve and succeed when they’re going to be graded and marked and so that we can, at the same time, find out where they are and how they’re doing in order to help them improve along the way. So they’re really ways of diagnosing, in a way, students’ learning.

Rebecca: One of the most popular classroom assessment techniques described in your book is the one minute paper. There have been many studies of the effectiveness of this technique and it’s been widely adopted in many disciplines. Why was this technique, in particular, been used so extensively?

Tom: Because it’s simple and easy to use, probably, and it takes almost no time. But seriously, the one minute paper, the minute paper was invented, to the extent these things are invented by Charles Schwartz, in the 1970s, at UC Berkeley, and he used it as both a way to take attendance (in his case, he was asking students to jot their names down), but more importantly, to find out whether students were learning from his physics lectures, in his huge physics classes, what he hoped they were learning. And that idea spread through UC Berkeley really fast. And so soon, there were dozens and hundreds of people using these two questions. And the two questions, famously, were: what are the two or three most important things you learned from today’s lecture, in his case, and what questions do you still have the end of the lecture? So students would jot these down on those strips of paper, remember, there was no internet and no computers, really, in classrooms in the 1970s. And then he would collect them, and read through a sample of the 1000 or so that he had every lecture. And from that sample, he would gather ideas about what students understood and didn’t from the lecture, and also what questions were most common. And then he would begin his next class meeting, by going over some of those points that students had had trouble with, or not understood, or missed them completely. Sometimes it happened that a 1000 students didn’t get one point that he thought was critical, and also answering one or two of the most important questions. And what he found was, he could do all of that in five minutes at the end of class, and about five minutes at the beginning of class. And I think it’s that efficiency that has made it so popular.

John: My first exposure to this was a study that was published in the Journal of Economic Education way back around the time of your last edition. I did try to find it, but I couldn’t find the citation for it, but what struck me was that the instructor had used it in one section of the course, had not used it in another section, and found that there was a very substantial difference in learning outcomes between the two groups, which he attributed to the one minute paper. And it’s been incredibly commonly used. But one of the things that really struck me is that at the time when you came out with this book, including the one-minute paper, and so many other classroom assessment techniques, most instruction at the time was the chalk and talk type where people were at a blackboard, maybe a whiteboard, if they were a little bit more advanced in the technology, where most assessment was done with high-stakes assessments. So I think your book was a fairly important factor in helping people shift to more formative assessments. Why have these techniques become so widely adopted?

Tom: Well, I think that one of the reasons why people have found classroom assessment techniques and other formative assessment techniques, there are other kinds, so useful and so important, I think there are several reasons. One is that the student body in the United States and across the world has become ever more diverse in the last 30 or 40 years. And it turns out that no matter who we are, as teachers, most of our students are going to be pretty different in terms of their experiences and their interests and their skills than we are. And that level of difference has probably grown over the years, at least our awareness of it has grown. So I think most teachers now realize that it’s very important to check in on students and see how they’re doing, before we get to the midterm or before [LAUGHTER] we get to the end of the course, and to check in regularly and not to assume that students are understanding our brilliantly clear presentations or the material that we give them, or the readings, or the problem sets, and to really check early on to see if it’s making sense to them, and what kind of sense it’s making to them. So I think that there’s much more realization of the diversity of human learning, and of our students, than there was 40 years ago or 30 years ago. And I also think that as teaching has evolved, especially as it’s become online, people have recognized that we need data. We can’t just depend on students volunteering that data, they often don’t know that they don’t understand. And that that data, used well, can help us and can help them.

Rebecca: I think one of the things that you’re talking about in terms of assumptions is reminding me of some of the conversations that we had early on in the pandemic, where instructors we’re talking about not being able to see the sea of faces to know whether or not students are learning because maybe students aren’t nodding along or providing some visual feedback, but classroom assessment techniques are really important because they allow opportunities to gather that data, which is probably far more informative than the head nodding.

Tom: I think there are maybe a couple of other things that are important about this that people discover. One is that by stopping to ask students to reflect on their learning and respond, you give them time to think. And you prompt them to think about their learning. And from my point of view, forever, the most important thing about doing this has really been to give students tools to become more aware, we could say more metacognitively aware, of their own learning, and to better take responsibility and control or at least direction over their own learning. So what I found is I’ve had many, many, many very bright students who had never been taught any kinds of techniques to think, or to ask themselves questions, or to monitor their own attention, and having those sorts of tools, those sort of metacognitive tools, I think empowers students to make decisions about their own learning, and also to improve their own learning in those areas where it matters most to them, which may not be my course.

John: One of the things you mentioned was that the one minute paper was originally developed in a class with 1000 or so students. And one of the nice things about many of these techniques is that they can scale that way. Now, there was a time when the book came out when this was all done on paper. But now we have so many electronic tools that we can use to do this. Instructors could put up a QR code with a link to a Google form or something where students can give their feedback within a minute or so or we could use polling techniques, and so forth. And many polling systems have built in one-minute questions or some other classroom assessment technique as a default strategy. So this impact has been pretty substantial. And it’s really nice for instructors, not just for students, having that time for reflection, but also for instructors to get some feedback on what students have learned. Because if you just call on students, you may happen to get the only student who understands the material responding to a question or you might get the only student who hasn’t understood the material. But with these formative assessments, you can get a good feel for where students are. And they also get some feel for where they are in a way that they might not if they would just passively sitting there listening to a lecture. So these techniques have, I think, become increasingly more common from the time of introduction. So these techniques have held up pretty well. But you now have a new edition of this book, a third edition of this book. Could you describe some of the changes in the new addition?

Tom: Well, obviously, and you’ve touched on this, technology has changed. And that’s had an impact on teaching, and an impact on learning. So one of the things that I did, in going back to do this book after so many years, was to take a look at first what was out there, what had people published on this. And there are literally about 3000 published articles of various kinds and various quality, about classroom assessment techniques. There were about 300 that I thought were of sufficient kind of quality and rigor to be able to use. And in the chapter on the minute paper, I refer to 150 articles and studied them very carefully. There are many, many books that refer to the classroom assessment techniques. And I also read [LAUGHTER] all of those references. So I took a few years to work through this material and new things were coming in all the time. So one thing that differs is that we have an evidence base across many, many disciplines for what seems to work and what seems to work well. And also much useful information on how to use these with various technologies. So how best to use formative assessment with online, fully online technologies on totally asynchronous classes. And so that’s been really valuable. And those are experiences that I couldn’t have all of those experiences. So it’s terrific to draw in those from other teachers. The other thing is people have invented new techniques or developed new techniques over time. And so in the third edition 25%, or about 15 of the 55 techniques, are ones that didn’t exist in the second edition. And that’s about one quarter of all the techniques in the new book. So one of the reasons why we have different techniques in the 3rd edition is that some of the ones in the second edition weren’t much written about, weren’t much commented on, and they seem not to be much used as far as I could tell. So I’ve picked up the ones that were most used and most written about, and most referenced so that people in different disciplines can find those techniques. And I’ve also found another 15 techniques to kind of fill those gaps and extend it a bit.

Rebecca: Your book offers many, many assessment techniques. I’m curious what your favorite few are that you’d like to introduce instructors to?

Tom: Well, just like I can’t say which of my daughters are my favorite, I do have favorites. I’ll be honest. I have always used the minute paper ever since I learned about it all those years ago, and I learned about it really when I was at Berkeley, in the mid 1980s. And I learned about it, as everybody else there did, kind of by chance, and thought, “Wow, why didn’t I do this? Why didn’t I think of this?” So the minute paper, the muddiest point, which is a variant of the minute paper, which is developed by a really famous and eminent statistician at Harvard, named Frederick Mosteller. And Fred Mosteller heard Pat Cross talk about this, when we were both at Harvard, and being the kind of person that he was he immediately experimented with it. What he found was that it was more useful for him, in his courses, to just ask one question, and that question for him was “What was the muddiest point In today’s class? What was least clear to you?” Many other people have used that as well and written about that. That’s another favorite. A third one is one that I’ve used a lot, being a statistics teacher. And that’s predict, observe, explain, which is often called POE. And that’s one that I’ve found useful in many situations. And I’ve had colleagues who’ve used that even in literature courses, and other courses where they’ll say to students, “let’s stop at this point in the book or the film, and predict what’s going to happen next, write that down, then we’ll observe it, and then we’ll try to explain why that either met our predictions or didn’t meet our prediction.” And while it’s obvious how people do that in science, and it’s part of the scientific method, it can be used in all kinds of circumstances. And it’s one that I’ve used with teachers who I’ve worked with, about classroom assessment and about formative assessment. I’ve asked them to predict what they thought would happen, then observe it, and explain what did happen and whether or not that met their expectations. And that’s been a very useful tool for me, I think, and the teachers I’ve worked with. So those are three good ones. I’ll give you one more, if that’s helpful. And that’s something that we call the directed paraphrase. So three of those four were in the first and second versions of the book, predict, observe, explain is in the third edition, but directed paraphrase simply asks the questions that are sometimes called journalistic questions, who, what, when, where, why, who did what to whom, when, where, why, and how? And it asks students to answer those questions about some phenomenon that they’re observing, or to answer them about an essay that they want to write, answer them about any kind of question. So giving students a framework of questions that they can work through, to make sure that they really understood either a book that they’ve been reading or an experiment that they’ve been doing, has been really valuable to my students. And I’ve said to them, “Look, this is something that you can adapt and take with you anywhere to use to make sure that you understand what’s going on fully. And to find out which part of it maybe you really can’t answer, and need to do some more work on.

John: In terms of the predict, observe ,and explain thing. I took a MOOC that was put together by Dan Ariely on behavioral economics. And one of the things he talked about was how he would often present the results of an experiment where the results were not what most people would have expected. But then he’d asked people for their reactions only after he summarized the results of the experiment. And they all nodded and said, “Well, that’s exactly what they would have thought would have happened.” So he started revising his presentations, where he asked people to make a prediction, and then revealed the result. And it got people much more engaged. And the same type of thing is done by Eric Mazur with his polling technique, where he asked people to answer a question where the question is not obvious and where there’s going to be some disputes. And then once they’ve committed to an answer, they work with other people and he goes through it again, with a little bit of peer instruction. But the level of engagement when students have made some type of a prediction of what they think the answer is, and then they have an explanation of what the answer is either given by the instructor or by other students, the level of engagement and interest just seems to go up fairly dramatically. So I can see how that would be particularly effective.

Tom: Yes, and I’ve learned a lot from the work of Eric Mazur, as have many others. And I think that that’s a critical thing. Because one of the things that we need to help students with, and help ourselves with, is managing our inbuilt biases and that issue of when you hear something new, feeling that you’ve always known it, even though you haven’t, is a cognitive bias that’s common, I think, to all human beings, myself included. So doing something like that: predict, observe, explain routine gives us a chance to really check and see if we know the answer. And then to find the answer, or discover an answer. And then to realize, because we have a document, we have a record, we have data about what we knew in the first instance, to recognize that we’ve learned something and what we’ve learned and that we might have been misinformed or unclear in the beginning. And I’ve suggested to my colleagues, one of the reasons that students don’t value their education as much as sometimes we think they should, or value our course as much as they think they should, is because when they get to the end, they may think “I always knew that, that was obvious, I knew those things.” And so we can help students realize that there’s a start point. And then there are many points along the road to learning, and that they may have learned more than they thought they did in a given course or given program. And I think that’s important for us in terms of demonstrating the value of education. And I think it’s important for students in terms of understanding and developing some humility about how it is that we learn and how hard it is and how long it takes to learn anything that’s really valuable.

Rebecca: I think, in my experience, students really appreciate the opportunity to slow down and reflect on their learning, because they’re often not given that opportunity. And when you’re doing that throughout an entire semester, they really do get excited about how much they’re learning and they get energized by that and seeing that they can achieve things over and over and over again.

Tom: I agree, and what we found with most of the studies of classroom assessment techniques, the simple ones is: first, classroom assessment techniques can’t really be separated from everything else that’s going on in teaching, they’re just one little part of the whole teaching and learning spectrum. They, at best, seem to make about a 5- 8% difference in how much students learn, which is about half a grade. And I think that’s important, but I don’t want to overstate it. So they’re not a panacea and they’re not a silver bullet, but they’re something that can lift up, to some degree, students’ performance and their learning. And the last thing I’ll say is nothing works for everybody. And so there is no technique or no series of techniques that every single teacher or every single student that I’ve worked with found valuable. And so one of the points of having 55 techniques is to hope that there’s one or two or five in there that people will actually find that work for them.

Rebecca: So you just reminded us about there’s 55 techniques, how do you imagine an instructor using your book? Is it a read from the beginning to the end? Do you have it organized in ways that instructors can easily dip in and out?

Tom: I can’t imagine reading it from the beginning to the end, and I don’t think anyone ever has. That would surprise me, except maybe the proofreaders [LAUGHTER] and they weren’t worrying about what it meant. So it’s organized so that there are many ways, there are actually eight ways to find a technique that might be useful for a given situation or a given teacher. One of those ways is the simplest and that’s alphabetical. So if someone has mentioned a technique to you, you can easily find it that way. The others are a bit more complicated, but I think the most valuable for many people is an index of all the techniques that have been used by discipline and documented by discipline, and the examples by discipline in the book. And there are a couple of 100 examples in the book of how people use these in different disciplines, kind of from A to Z, from anthropology to zoology, and everything in between. So those are ways that many people use. There are also a couple of inventories in the book. One is something called the teaching goals inventory, which was in the first and second edition, and has been used in lots of ways by many people and written about and research has been done on the teaching goals inventory, and it is exactly what it sounds like, an inventory of what we think we’re trying to teach. For this book, I created what I think is kind of a more contemporary take on that, and that’s something that I call the course learning outcomes inventory, or CLOI, and it’s really flipping that and saying, okay, it’s important what we want to teach, but let’s look at it from the point of view of what do we want students to learn? And so the CLOI, the course learning outcomes inventory, the statements are statements of learning outcomes. There are 57, they’re divided up into kinds of learning outcomes, and people can use it as a self assessment. Those items both in the teaching goals inventory and the CLOI are all linked to classroom assessment techniques in an index. So if you pick number 47 goal or number 47 outcome, you can find techniques that are linked to that. Lastly, we’ve done indexing by Bloom’s Taxonomy, and by Fink’s taxonomy of significant learning outcomes, and also by the big solo taxonomy, which is one that’s much used in the Commonwealth world, in the British and Canadian and Australian and New Zealand systems. So there are eight ways to skin a CAT in this book, or to find a cat at least. And I hope those will be useful to folks. And I think different kinds of indexing work for different kinds of people.

John: You mentioned that when this book first came out these things were done on paper. But one of the things that’s grown quite a bit over the years, as you’ve mentioned, is online instruction. Could you tell us a little bit about how some of the techniques can be used in an asynchronous environment?

Tom: Well, I think there are huge advantages to the technology that we have now compared to having to do all this on paper, having to read all those papers after class, or all those index cards, in my case, after class and then waited until the next class, when I saw students again, the time lag was a real problem. So being able to respond almost immediately, or in relatively short time to students in asynchronous courses, to their questions, and to their confusions, and to also let them know that they’re learning some things really well… they really got that… and that they’ve come up with some ideas that I never would have thought of that are excellent. To do those things in real time, I think, is much more effective in terms of teaching and learning than waiting two or three days or a week. Also, as you mentioned, we have technologies for polling students and for analyzing their responses that are ever more sophisticated and powerful. And so those save teachers a lot of time and work. I was always going through things counting and deciding on the number of times people had mentioned things on paper. This can all be done and is all done for you if you want to do it. And that, again, allows teachers to focus on what really matters. And that is: what’s the meaning of this data? What are students telling me? …and to make decisions about when they’re going to respond and what they’re going to respond to, because you can’t respond to everything in data if you have more than two students. And most of us did, and do. So I think that asynchronous learning has huge advantages, it has some downsides, but it has huge advantages. And one of those probably is that it makes it more difficult to assume that by looking at students, you can tell that they’re learning or not, which I’ve always found an odd idea, but many of my colleagues at least used to seem to think that if students were nodding and looking at them, that they were just tracking with them and understood everything that they were saying. And I used to say to my colleagues, “I’ve known many smilers and nodders that probably were thinking of something else entirely, and classroom assessment proved that to me.

John: I’ve seen that so much. We’ve heard so many faculty during workshops over the years who say, “Well, I can tell whether they’re learning just by looking at the expressions on their faces.” And I’ve never found that. There are a lot of students who will be nodding and smiling. And then when you ask them a question, or they ask you a question, it’s really clear that they don’t have the basic idea. At an economics conference, I was presenting a paper and there was someone sitting in the first row taking furious notes while I was talking. So I went up to the person after and asked them what they were taking notes about, because I was curious. And they were actually preparing for a session later in the day. But they looked really engaged throughout the whole thing.

Tom: They were engaged, just not with your lecture. [LAUGHTER]

John: Yes.

Tom: So I think the converse is also true. And that is their students, and people, who don’t appear to be paying any attention at all, or who are frowning or who have had their head down, who are actually paying total attention and learning a lot. And that’s one of the things I learned as well, early in my career, was not to make assumptions based on those sort of superficial impressions. And it’s hard not to, but when you actually learn that some students who appear not to be engaged are engaged in their quiet way. And that’s a humbling lesson, or it was for me.

Rebecca: One of the things that I really like about your book, and also the way the collection of the CATS all in one place is the flexibility, the flexibility of navigate the book, the flexibility of options for the instructor, but also the flexibility of options for learners as well, in different contexts. So I just wanted to highlight that flexibility piece that we haven’t really talked about quite yet.

Tom: Well, that’s the hope. And if this is created as an ebook, and I expect it will be, then I think that will offer people even more flexibility and more sort of usability. It will be a more user friendly book. And again, there are huge advantages to the kinds of technologies that we have available now that we didn’t then. So I think the real key to this is one of the axioms in the book. And that is it’s really about adapting, not adopting. So there are many, many tools in there that people have adapted in a variety of ways, renamed, and that’s all fine. And that’s all exactly what should happen. You should find them, adapt them to their uses, and if they don’t like the names of the CATs, they can change the name.

John: Would this be a good subject for a faculty reading group where people from different disciplines could get together and talk about how either they’ve applied these things or how they might apply them in their classes?

Tom: Well, it has been from the beginning. And we began this whole process working with groups of teachers, initially in community colleges and state colleges, who were interested in assessing student learning. And, of course, the point being trying to improve student learning. And what we did basically was use the teaching goals inventory at that time, you could use the course learning outcomes inventory, with those teachers to get them to focus on what they really wanted to know. And in the book, I’ve written about, in one of the chapters, four different ways you can approach using classroom assessment techniques and figuring out which one to use. But everybody had ideas and theories and questions or problems that they wanted to try to solve. And so we started with that. And then we said, if that’s your question or problem or theory or outcome or goal, what might be a good tool to try to help you gather a reasonable amount, a manageable amount, of data from students that might help you learn, and might help them learn? And that’s really where we began, and those discussions and the collegiality that came from them, and the interactions that came from that, were always the most valuable part of that professional development. That when we ask people: “What did you take away from this?” The first thing that they said was not a bunch of techniques. The first thing that they said was the interactions with my colleagues, the relationships with my colleagues, learning from my colleagues, and then they talked about the actual content that they had learned and the things that they had done. So I think those interactions and those relationships that people can make, by having a group focused around this. This is an excuse to get together and talk about teaching and learning. I think from our experience, we found any excuse to get folks together to talk about teaching and learning, especially if it’s across disciplines, is always fruitful.

Tom: …particularly if there’s food. [LAUGHTER]

John: Yes. The third edition list you as author with Todd Zakrajsek, could you tell us how this collaboration came about and how it worked?

Tom: I think this was, in part, an insurance policy for the publishers. Given my advanced age, they wanted to make sure that they had someone involved in the project, who could take over if I just kicked the bucket. So, in the last six months of the book project, after I had finished writing the manuscript, Todd Zakrajsek joined with me and was really invaluable in finishing the process, in coming up with great ideas and suggesting great ideas, especially for the use of technology and AI with CATs, and in helping me manage the process with the publisher, which is much more complicated than it was 30 years ago. He also wrote the discussion questions for use by teachers and faculty developers, and I think those are going to be very helpful to folks.

John: We’re recording this in May, and the book is scheduled for release in June. We always end by asking, what’s next?

Tom: Well, I’ll answer that. But I’ll first say to teachers, what I always say, and that is, “Feel free to ask your librarian to order the book, so that you can use it, and your colleagues can use it.” Don’t tell Wiley and Jossey Bass that I said that, but I think that’s important. So what’s next for me is I’ve been working for a while with a group of people in, strangely enough, pharmacy education. I’m not a pharmacist, and I’m doing research with graduate students on what we call core concepts in developing what are the core concepts in pharmacotherapy? And that’s been very interesting for me. I’ve learned a lot from that. And so I’m ongoing with that. And we’re beginning to work on educational materials related to that. So that’s one of the things that I’m doing. And I’ve actually, I don’t want to commit to this too much, but I’m thinking about writing a book based on an article that I wrote that people have found useful, called “A Teacher’s Dozen.” And so I’ve updated that. I’ve been working on that actually for a few years, and something may come of that.

Rebecca: Well, we’ll be excited to find out what that is soon, maybe. But you haven’t committed, but maybe. [LAUGHTER]

John: Well, thank you. It’s been great talking to you. And my copy of the book is on preorder. And I am looking forward to receiving that.

Tom: So am I. [LAUGHTER]

Rebecca: Well, thank you so much for joining us. It was great to hear about the origin story of the book and how it’s evolved over time and I know a whole other generation of teachers will appreciate the new edition as well as teachers who have been practicing for a long time.

Tom: I hope it will be useful. Listen, it’s been a pleasure and a privilege to talk with you both. Thank you for giving me this opportunity

John: We should note that this is the first of two podcast episodes discussing this book. In next week’s podcast we’ll be joined by Todd Zakrajsek, who will be discussing his role in this work.


John: If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes or your favorite podcast service. To continue the conversation, join us on our Tea for Teaching Facebook page.

Rebecca: You can find show notes, transcripts and other materials on teaforteaching.com. Music by Michael Gary Brewer.