Minute Paper

No other technique has been used more often or by more college teachers than the Minute Paper. This technique — also known as the One-Minute Paper and the Half-Sheet Response — provides a quick and extremely simple way to collect written feedback on student learning.

To use the Minute Paper, an instructor stops class two or three minutes early and asks students to respond briefly to some variation on the following two questions: "What was the most important thing you learned during this class?" and "What important question remains unanswered?" Students write their responses on index cards or half-sheets of scrap paper and hand them in.

  1. Decide first what you want to focus on and, as a consequence, when to administer the Minute Paper. If you want to focus on students' understanding of a lecture, the last few minutes of class may be the best time. If your focus is on a prior homework assignment, however, the first few minutes may be more appropriate.
  2. Using the two basic questions from the "Description" above as starting points, write Minute Paper prompts that fit your course and students. Try out your Minute Paper on a colleague or teaching assistant before using it in class.
  3. Plan to set aside five to ten minutes of your next class to use the technique, as well as time later to discuss the results.
  4. Before class, write one or, at the most, two Minute Paper questions on the chalkboard or prepare an overhead transparency.
  5. At a convenient time, hand out index cards or half-sheets of scrap paper.
  6. Unless there is a very good reason to know who wrote what, direct students to leave their names off the papers or cards.
  7. Let the students know how much time they will have (two to five minutes per question is usually enough), what kinds of answers you want (words, phrases, or short sentences), and when they can expect your feedback.