Focused Listing (classroom)

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Facilitating Focused Listing active learning activities in a classroom

Time and Effort

Student Activity TimeLow
Instructor Prep TimeLow
Instructor Response TimeLow
Complexity of ActivityLow


Focused Listing directs students’ attention on a single relevant term, name, or concept from a particular lesson or class session and asks them to list several ideas that are closely related to that focal point. It is useful to quickly determine what learners recall as the essential points of a particular topic.


Use it when you want...

  • To assess how well students can describe central points in a lesson,
  • To illuminate the connections students make between topics, or
  • To help students learn to focus attention and improve recall, mainly when you introduce a large amount of new information.

What students will need

  • No special requirements for this approach


The following workflow is meant as guidance for how you can facilitate a Focused Listing learning activity within a classroom.


  • Decide when the activity will take place (before, during, or after a relevant lesson). Use the results to gauge the best starting point, make midpoint corrections, or measure the class’s progress in learning one specific element of the course content.
  • Select a topic or concept that the class has just studied or will study and describe it in a word or phrase.
  • Write that word or phrase at the top of a sheet of paper as a heading of related terms critical to understanding that topic.
  • Determine a time and item limit.
  • Based on the time and item limit set, test it out by making a list of words and phrases you can recall that are related to and subsumed by your heading.
  • Review your list, looking for any items you may have left out.


  • Present the topic to students and ask them to create their list.
  • Give students a time limit for their responses.
  • Ask students to share their lists with the class.
  • Review and synthesize results. Use results to guide another activity in response.


  • Review the outcomes of the activity.

Accessibility and Room Considerations

Technical Documentation


Angelo, Thomas A., and K. Patricia Cross. Classroom Assessment Techniques: a Handbook for College Teachers. Jossey-Bass, 1993. pp. 126-131.

See Also:

Keywords:focused listing, active learning, classroom, prior knowledge   Doc ID:104171
Owner:Timmo D.Group:Center for Teaching, Learning & Mentoring
Created:2020-07-20 14:34 CSTUpdated:2021-08-20 13:24 CST
Sites:Center for Teaching, Learning & Mentoring
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