Report Out

Context: You plan or teach classes where students create their own answers or ideas during class.


Forces & Problem: Evidence shows that learning increases when Students Interact and Construct Understanding. However, you need an efficient way to help students identify key ideas, correct answers, and potential problems. If students know that the teacher will give them the right answer, some might be less motivated to create and verify their own answer. If students receive no feedback on their work, they might get confused or reach the wrong conclusions.


Solution & Consequences: Therefore, stop at key points during class, have students report their answers to the class, and lead a discussion of disagreements or concerns. If everyone has the correct answer, then the class can move on. If only a few students have problems, work with them individually or in a small group. If many students have incorrect answers, ask a few to explain their reasoning and then allow everyone to discuss and revise their answers. If all or nearly all students are incorrect or confused, you might need to review prior material or change your plans for the day.

Discussion: Report Out is related to Debrief After Activities, but provides more structure to the discussion, and often occurs repeatedly during a classroom activity. With Groups Work or Self-Managing Teams, have one member Speak for Team, so you call on fewer people, and they are more likely to have correct answers.

Report Out is also related to Compare Answers. Report Out usually assumes that the entire class is paying attention at one time, while Compare Answers can be used incrementally with a subset of students or teams as they reach key milestones in the activity.

Examples: There are many techniques to Report Out, a few of which are listed below.

  • Choose a few teams at random and have one person share their answers or insights with the class.
    If most or all of the answers are similar and correct, you can move on. If there are errors or very different answers, you might decide to have more teams report out, or lead a short discussion.
  • Have each team answer a multiple-choice question by holding up fingers, using clickers, a phone app, or a website. Technology-based approaches make it easier to display a summary of responses to the entire class. This can be particularly useful in large classes.
  • Have each team draw or write their answers on a chalkboard or dry-erase board. This is useful for graphical information, like chemical structures, equations, flowcharts, UML and diagrams.
  • Have each team draw or write their answers on a small dry-erase board or pad of paper. This is also useful for graphical information. Students can then hold up their answer for you and others to see.

Author: Clif Kussmaul

Publication: C Kussmaul. 2017. Patterns in classroom facilitation for Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL). HILLSIDE Proc. of Noridc Conf. on Pattern Lang. of Programs. 17. (Mar-Apr 2017)

Contributors to this page: Clif Kussmaul .
Page last modified on Sat November 11, 2017 13:48:17 EST by Clif Kussmaul. (Version 2)