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What is the IF-AT?

The Immediate Feedback Assessment Technique, also known as the IF-AT, is an exciting and revolutionary new testing system that transforms traditional multiple-choice testing into an interactive learning opportunity for students and a more informative assessment opportunity for teachers.

Here’s How. Use of the IF-AT testing system enables students to be provided with immediate feedback about the accuracy of their answers to each question in a test/quiz/homework assignment, etc. as the students are completing each item. The IF-AT system provides immediate affirmative feedback (if a student’s answer choice is correct) and/or corrective feedback (if a student’s answer choice is incorrect).

Key Benefits. Using the IF-system allows students to continue answering a question until they discover the correct answer. This ensures that students’ last response is the correct one. Thus, the IF-AT teaches while it assesses, facilitating learning and improving students’ retention of the information being tested. In addition to all of these benefits, perhaps most importantly, students love using the IF-AT -- it makes assessments enjoyable for them! Because the instructor is able to determine how many answer attempts it took for students to discover the correct answer, the instructor who uses the IF-AT is able to give partial credit to his/her students.

Psychological Principles. The IF-AT was developed by a psychology professor whose specialty is human learning and memory. The IF-AT is based on solid psychological principles:
  • Immediate feedback is beneficial for learning (and is superior to delayed feedback)
  • The best test/quiz/homework assignment, etc. doesn’t just assess; it also teaches
  • The last response given by students on a test item are the ones they learn (i.e. the students leave the test item believing they have chosen the correct answers)

The IF-AT uses a multiple-choice answer form with a thin opaque film covering the answer options. Instead of using a pencil to fill in a circle, each student scratches off his/her answer as if scratching a lottery ticket. The student scratches off the coating of the rectangle corresponding with his/her first-choice answer. If the answer is correct, a star or other symbol appears somewhere within the rectangle indicating he/she found the correct answer. The student’s learning is immediately reinforced, the student receives full credit for the answer, and moves on to the next question.

If incorrect, the student must re-read the question and remaining answer options and scratch off a second or even third choice until the correct answer is identified. The student will earn partial credit for multiple attempts and learn the correct response for each question while taking the test. One of the keys to the IF-AT system is that students never leave a question without knowing the correct answer.

See the illustrated example of the IF-AT forms on the left.

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