Ensuring Accountability

Resource Description:


Resource Title:
Flipping Your Class - Ensuring Accountability
Course Type:

For many instructors it is, understandably, challenging to create a lesson plan that assumes students will have the basic knowledge needed to go deeper into course content when an instructor has previously found that students don’t complete the assigned reading. For a flipped classroom to achieve its goals, students need to be held accountable for completing the pre-class work. This accountability can take many forms: quizzes (announced or pop), “entrance-ticket” assignments that students have to hand in before coming to class, graded in-class activities that cannot be successfully completed unless students arrive prepared, among others. The accountability mechanism used by Deslauriers, et al. (2011), was a series of short true-false quizzes assessing students’ understanding of the reading. These quizzes were completed online prior to the face-to-face class meetings.  Faculty members at U-M are using an array of accountability measures in their flipped classes, ranging from paper-and-pencil quizzes to requiring students to submit questions online prior to coming to class. A summary of different low- and high-tech ways of ensuring accountability can be seen below.

Many faculty worry that flipping their class will mean that the grading demands of the course will increase. While this concern is understandable, this may not necessarily be the case.  One way to manage the time/effort demands of a flipped classroom is to critically examine which assignments need to be individually evaluated for quality of student work and which can be used in aggregate to assess student understanding. Several specific strategies for managing the grading workload include:

  • Completion points: Instructors can grant a few points for having answered brief questions about the assigned pre-class work or getting a certain number of questions correct on a quiz; this also provides students an incentive to complete the assignments prior to class.
  • Peer review: Pairs or small groups of students can provide feedback on their work especially when they are able to use a rubric or guiding questions to structure their feedback. Details on how to use peer review with Google docs can be found at the link.
  • Self-evaluation: Students can reflect on their own learning by taking an ungraded quiz and checking their responses, reviewing a checklist of ideas to determine their understanding of the subject, or by writing a reflective statement describing the concepts that are most clear and confusing to them.

In general, frequent low-stakes assessments of student understanding benefit student learning while keeping the instructor apprised of what concepts or skills are particularly challenging for students to master (Ambrose et al., 2011).


Low-Tech & High-Tech Tools to Ensure Students Complete the Preparatory Work
 Low-Tech High-Tech
  • Paper quizzes
  • Reflective in-class writing (at the beginning of class)
  • Journal entries
  • Submitting discussion questions on index cards as students enter


  • Google forms
  • Interactive modules
  • Blog posts
  • Online forums
  • Submitting discussion questions electronically