Extremely Simple "One Minute Paper"

Submitted by Inhye Peterson on

I incorporated "One Minute Paper" classroom assessment technique by K. Patricia Cross (1993) into ENG091 classroom learning during the entire semester of Fall 2017.  By far, this class had the most diverse student population that was comprised of: Junior ACE (high school dual students), traditional first year underprepared students, Adult Re-entry students, and students with disability. To ensure their course success, I mirrored my ENG101 curriculum with just a few exceptions.  I have seen the great effect by incorporating this simple assessment tool, to not only be able to assess their level of understanding of my instructions, but also to learn about the "muddiest" point of the instructions to improve my instructional practice.  The "bonus" part of using this simple "One Minute Paper" is that the students had one more chance to ask me questions, especially those who were shy and introverted. Because of this formative assessment, by the end of the semester, I received "zero" questions/complaints from my ENG091 students (see attached for multiple measures). 

Completed Full Cycle
Course Number
ENG091 38897 and 38898
Average: 4 (6 votes)


Rene Willekens Tue, 01/16/2018 - 2:16pm

I really like this classoom activity. It is a good way to conduct formative assessment on what your students are learning.  I like the fact that you mentioned that you received no compliants and you required your students to ask questions.  The question I have is did you have a lot of  complaints when you have taught this course in prior semesters.  This would hlep domonstrate that technique is working. Also, it would be great if you could move this assessment to improving specific learning outcomes.  In the future you may want to analyze the responses related to what the students are not saying and the questions they are asking.  If there is a key part of the  learning outcome that few if any students are mentioning or many students are asking questions about, you could revisit the topic in the next class meeting and add an  emphaisis in areas. A follow-up one-minute paper in the next session may help to determine if students improved their learning the scond time around.  

Inhye Peterson Wed, 01/17/2018 - 8:42pm

In reply to by Rene Willekens

Dr. Willekens, 

This past semester was my first time teaching ENG091.  Nevertheless, I've been implementing One Minute Paper technique for the past two (2) years, and I used to receive a lot more student questions and complaints (e.g., 10 questions versus 2 questions).  Therefore, I have to agree that my teaching techniques have been improved in that course of time. Additionally, this continuous learning cycle model greatly helped me to learn and grow as an instructor, and I've addressed these emerged student questions the very next session, by re-examining and reiterating (the relevant topics and the mini-lectures) that were delivered by me during the prior learning session.  In fact, that's how I frame my teaching session, followed by the intro. of Overview/Outline of the day.  The follow-up One Minute Paper is already built in as students are encouraged to make comments on anything at all times, within the Learning Outcomes, and I have not witnessed the same question or concern resurfaced, twice.  Therefore, I feel comfortable to say that my students have been improving their learning the second time around. A quick clarification question for you:  you're suggesting that I analyze what students are saying or not saying?  Thank you. 

Olga Tsoudis Fri, 01/19/2018 - 10:56pm

Inhye, The one minute paper is an excellent way to do a quick assessment for our students. Have you had them focus on specific areas for each minute paper in order to get responses that are more specific to a topic? Did you use the minute paper responses for the next class session to address any issues?  Thank you for sharing.

Inhye Peterson Sun, 01/21/2018 - 1:28pm

In reply to by Olga Tsoudis


Thank you.  I would say "yes" because each of my session is focused on a specific topic.  For example, this past session, we were focused on students' topic selection backed up by one article that they brought in the class, that they felt passionate about.  Therefore, the minute paper of that day was students' feedback, mainly on that, if this makes sense to you.  Yes, I have been diligently using the Minute Paper responses to open up my very next session, both to capture students' attention and to address any of their concerns and questions to the previous session, promptly.  This, in turn, enables us to move forward to the next phase of writing and researching for my students to receive the personally meaningful learning experience.  

Kelly Loucy Mon, 01/22/2018 - 9:50am

I like how you are using the One Minute paper to assess "muddy points," to help set up your next class session, and really, to build rapport with your students. Do you use the One Minute paper at the end of every class?

Inhye Peterson Mon, 01/22/2018 - 9:59am

Thank you, Kelly.  I really appreciate it.  Yes, I do use the Minute Paper at the end of every class.  It really does help to build the relationships with my students fast, as some of them have social anxiety and are just being shy, when it comes down to asking questions and public speaking/presentation in front of their peers. 

Catherine Cochran Mon, 01/22/2018 - 11:33am

Hi Inhye,

I love your One Minute paper assessment!  This a quick way to assess student learning and understanding of the instructor's directions.  Thank you for sharing your idea!


Inhye Peterson Mon, 01/22/2018 - 11:50am

Hi Catherine, 

Thank you.  I agree!  I cannot imagine opening and closing my instructions without the Minute Paper now, and my students are being very engaged, as a bonus.  It created a good flow for us.  

Teri Graham Tue, 01/23/2018 - 10:10am

Engaging students and providing them an opportunity to question and share is powerful.  It is also beneficial to see that the students feel more comfortable by the end of the semester in communicating with you as well as seeing where they are "stuck".  

Inhye Peterson Tue, 01/23/2018 - 10:29am

Thanks you, Teri, for your wonderful comment!  Yes, this simple little tool positively reinforces students to be more involved in their own learning and be more mindful throughout the entire semester, for their internalizing (looking & examining within) thinking process.     

Becky Baranowski Tue, 01/23/2018 - 12:49pm


Thanks for taking time to submit this CATS.  This is a great way to engage with students and give them all a chance to ask questions.  I know some people call this a "ticket out of class" or "exit question," so I like the name you give this because of the content you teach.  I haven't incorporated this technique in my class and am not sure why I haven't.  I need to think about this and may consider trying this for a semester.  This gives us instant feedback on the class session that helps influence the next class.  Thanks!

Inhye Peterson Tue, 01/23/2018 - 3:40pm

In reply to by Becky Baranowski

I'm full of ideas, Becky!  I just wish I have more time to do more.  I noticed my HS Dual students love this tool (for this semester).  They really take time and do a through & serious reflection (and some of them have the best handwritings!)  I'm so proud of all of them.  This tool speaks its volume, specially after I went through my Doctoral Program, because the process taught me that learning is really about my internal dialogue with myself and embellishing and taking my thought process to the next level --by asking myself critical (hard) questions.  The flip ('fun') side is my students are always wondering about what I'm going to say about their papers, the next session.  It's the non-verbal "cues," that we, as teachers, need to teach them more on how to recognize and apply those in the classroom.  For example, the second I say "One Minute Paper", they know what's expected.  It's like a game, sort of an exchange game, or I would also refer to as "paper-version" Socratic Method!  

I have a gut feeling that your Journaling CATS entry would have similar or stronger effects on your students, and look forward to it!