The Muddiest Point is a remarkably efficient way to assess student learning, since it provides a high information return for a very low investment of time and energy. The technique consists of asking students to jot down a quick response to one question: "What was the muddiest point in ________?" The focus of the Muddiest Point assessment might be a lecture, a discussion, a homework assignment, a play, or a film.

  1. Determine what you want feedback on: the entire class session or one self-contained segment? A lecture, a discussion, a presentation?
  2. If you are using the technique in class, reserve a few minutes at the end of the class session. Leave enough time to ask the question, to allow students to respond, and to collect their responses by the usual ending time.
  3. Let students know beforehand how much time they will have to respond and what use you will make of their responses.
  4. Pass out slips of paper or index cards for students to write on.
  5. Collect the responses as or before students leave. Stationing yourself at the door and collecting "muddy points" as students file out is one way; leaving a "muddy point" collection box by the exit is another.
  6. Respond to the students' feedback during the next class meeting or as soon as possible afterward.