Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching
Center for the Enhancement of Learning and TeachingSkip navigation and go directly to content

Immediate Feedback Assessment Technique (IF-AT)

The Immediate Feedback Assessment Technique is an instructional method that tests students' understanding of course content using individual and group exams. It is one component in a larger teaching strategy called Team-Based Learning, but can be used in any course design. Students receive immediate feedback as to the correctness of their answers, they leave the exam knowing the correct response, it is a cooperative learning activity with the benefits that group work entails, it provides valuable information to the instructor about student comprehension, and it's fun. Studies done in conjunction with the IF-AT company indicate that the IF-AT increases student acquisition and retention of course content (Brosvic, 2005; Epstein, 2002).

IF-AT forms are cards to be used with multiple-choice exams having 10, 25 or 50 questions each with 4 or 5 choices. They are used during the group-testing portion of the technique. The answer options are covered with an opaque film that is scratched off like a lottery ticket. If the correct response is chosen, a star appears and the students in the group receive full credit. If no star, the group can choose other responses sequentially receiving decreasing partial credit as they do so.

1) Assign a reading or other content material that students are to complete before the class meeting.

2) Prepare a multiple-choice quiz based on the assigned material. A 10-item quiz is usually adequate.

3) Provide two paper answer sheets to each student. These can be small half-sheets with simple blanks for the multiple-choice answers.

4) Students take the quiz individually and make two copies of their answer sheet. Students hand in one answer sheet and retain the other. These will be graded for individual credit.

5) Students form groups of 4 or 5. If this technique is used more than once during the semester, it is best to have the same groups. Each group gets one IF-AT form.

6) Students re-take the quiz in their groups. They must come to consensus on their answers. Their individual answer sheets are available to them as resources. As the group comes to consensus on each question, someone scratches off the stripe on the IF-AT corresponding to their answer.

7) If the group answer is correct, a star will be revealed beneath the stripe. If not, the group moves to their second-choice answer and the stripe is scratched off, and so on.

8) If the group gets the answer on the first scratch, they get full credit for that question. Otherwise, the group chooses other responses sequentially receiving decreasing partial credit as they do so.

9) The group writes their names on the back of their IF-AT sheet along with their point total and hands in the form. Students receive a group grade based on their team responses

Information about this technique and ordering the IF-AT testing forms can be found at http://www.epsteineducation.com. IF-AT forms are available from CELT in limited quantities for those wishing to try this technique.

Brosvic, G.M. , Epstein, M.L., Cook, M.J. , Dihoff, R.E. (2005). Efficacy of error for the correction of initially incorrect assumptions and of feedback for the affirmation of correct responding. The Psychological Record 55 (3), 401-418.

Epstein, M.L., Lazarus, A.D., Calvano, T.B., et al. (2002). Immediate feedback assessment technique promotes learning and corrects inaccurate first responses. The Psychological Record 52 (2), 187-201.