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Muddiest Point




This is an assessment technique first developed by Dr. Frederick Mosteller, a Harvard University professor of statistics, in 1989. It evaluates what students are having trouble understanding during a class. It is an useful tool to the instructor in understanding any germane learning issues and it can be administered at different junctures of a course.

What are the main features?

The key characteristics of this technique include:
  • Flexibility in soliciting response verbally or in written form.
  • Can be administered online or on paper.
  • If an electronic form is used, students can be encouraged to respond outside of class to classmates, clarifying points they understood.
  • It requires very little time and logistics.

How do I implement it?

The instructor simply poses the question, "What is the muddiest point in this session?" to solicit student feedback on any part of the instruction they may have trouble understanding. The instructor can the flexibility to ask this question in the class or online.

What does it measure?

This approach allows the instructor to assess the learning progress of the students in the following areas:
  • Ability to evaluate and integrate ideas and information.
  • Improve classroom skills such as attention and listening skills.
  • Learn facts, concepts, and principles.
  • Active participation in discussion and learning activities.

Other Information

This video illustrates how Muddiest Point can be implemented in a synchronous online environment. Both Wimba and AdobeConnect facilitate this technique.

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