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Memory Matrix Development and Application


Memory Matrix Development and Application:


Learning as a psychological process can only be assessed when an individual is seen performing a task. This has led scholars to define learning in terms of measurable changes in behaviour of an individual. The consequences of the above stated is that for a classroom teacher to find out how much of the learning content the student has learned, the use of a properly constructed assessment tool is needed. This study explored the development and application of memory matrix which is a form of classroom assessment technique (CAT). 

CAT is explained here to be formative assessment techniques used by the classroom teacher to assess learning and to which the learner responds anonymously and the teacher remarks and does not grade them based on failed or passed. Memory matrix is a two-grid table with rows and columns showing the useful variables for important information covered in the lesson used in assessing academic skills and intellectual development of the learner or precisely, the subject matter learned. The procedures used in developing memory matrix is also discussed in this paper. This study has identified several implications of memory matrix in the classroom in the area of research, measurement, and evaluation. The paper concludes that memory matrix is a pertinent tool for cognitive domain assessment, and recommendations were made.



Learning is a psychological process of an individual which can only be seen in the overt performance of a task. Behlol (2010), stated that the different ways educational psychologists have defined learning include, a quantitative increase in knowledge, memorizing of facts, skills, and methods that can be retained; making sense or abstracting meaning, relating parts of the subject matter to each other and the real world, interpreting and understanding reality and comprehending the world by reinterpreting knowledge and used as necessary.

The concept of learning has also been defined as a relatively permanent change in behaviour, knowledge, and thinking skills as well as a result of experience (Duchesne, McMaugh, Bochner, & Krause, 2013). The definition of learning as a change show that it is a product of some activities or experience and can be quantified by grade or mark. In a classroom setting the teacher can assess how much of the lesson content a student has grabbed using a rated instrument. This process is referred to as assessment

In assessment, the teacher collects data about the learning of a student to ascertain what he has learned, what area of the learning he might be having challenges, and thereby proving the student with the necessary assistance to meet the learning goals.

Yambi (2020) defines assessment as an effective, goal-oriented teaching-learning sequence that includes clearly understood objectives, productive classroom activities, and enough feedback to make students aware of their performance’s strengths and weaknesses so that they can improve.The author further stressed that the essence of assessment is that a mentor appreciates assisting a mentee and is ready to put out the time necessary to provide quality feedback that will improve the mentee’s future performance.

Brown (2013) defines assessment as a connected set of measures used to determine a complicated trait of a person or group of individuals. Consequently, assessments are used to identify student’s weaknesses and strengths so that educators can provide specialized academic support educational programming or social services.

According to Brown (2013), classroom assessment serves two important functions: one is to demonstrate whether or not the learning has been successful, and the other is to clarify the teachers’ expectations of the students. This, therefore, points that, classroom teachers are more likely to use the outcomes of the assessment to enhance their teaching in the classroom, since they write, administer, and analyze the questions themselves.

As a result, it gives students a gauge of their development and provides feedback on the effectiveness of training. Nworgu (2015), explained the classification of assessment to include (a) assessment of learning or summative assessment which purpose is to understand and describe or summarize learning; (b) assessment for learning or formative assessment (which is the focus of this study) is employed when the purpose is to improve learning. Formative assessment usually conducts by the teacher in the classroom during the teaching process to ascertain what the students have learned and what area needs improvement. This exercise can be done by the teacher by choosing from a range of existing techniques. The assessment techniques provide both the teacher and the students with a great deal of feedback about learning.

According to Victoria, (2011), Classroom assessment technique (CAT) are teaching strategies that provide a formative assessment of students learning and is used of enhances and improves student learning. CATs offer an egalitarian and productive method of student evaluation, allow immediate formative feedback to both students and staff, and are also a formative assessment, therefore promotes deep learning techniques, and thus enhancing knowledge and motivation. CATs rely on self-assessment, thus promoting the internal resources necessary for lifelong learning, and autonomy which enhances the learning process (Walker, 2012). Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) are easy, flexible, non-graded assessment techniques that give to teachers and students constant feedback while also making the teaching-learning process exciting and engaging(Yousef, 2016).

Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) therefore is a non-graded, anonymous response instrument used in-class learning activities designed to give the teacher and students useful feedback on the teaching-learning process as it is happening. The only authors that did a comprehensive work on classroom assessment techniques, in their book Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for Faculty they listed are 3-2-1 Format, Focused Listing, Muddiest Point, One Minute Paper, Think-Pair-Share, Concept Mapping, Jigsaw, Memory Matrix, etc. It is important to recognize that these techniques are meant to supplement and complement, not to replace, the testing and evaluation teachers already do. By their dual nature, these classroom assessment techniques can and should be used to assess and, at the same time, to teach (Cross and Angelo,1993).

This work will only focus on the development and application of the memory matrix as a formative assessment tool, its implication in assessment and evaluation, conclusion, and recommendation.

Authentic Assessment – Issues and Implications 

  CONCEPT OF MEMORY MATRIX                                                                            

Memory Matrix according to the work of Cross and Angelo (1993), fall under the category of techniques for assessing academic skills and intellectual development, this technique is particularly used to assess subject matter learning. classroom assessment techniques presented in this subsection aim at finding out what students remember and what they understand about a given topic.

The Memory Matrix assesses skills and competencies classified as “knowledge” in the Bloom taxonomy. Memory matrix, therefore, is a technique used for assessing a student’s comprehension and recall. A memory matrix is a two-grid table that is divided into rows and columns. The table is used to organize information and determine content relationships.

Some cells in the table are purposefully left blank, and students are required to fill them in to demonstrate their understanding of the material (Facione, 2011). The major purpose of the Memory Matrix is to assess students’ recall and skill and quickly organizes important course information into familiar categories using a matrix prepared by the instructor.


The memory matrix is simple to implement and easy to use during instruction however there is some up-front preparation that must be completed. Consider content carefully. Content needs to appropriately align with column and row organization. This exercise is effective after lectures, videos, reading assignments, etc (Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning. 2021).

Cross and Angelo (1993) suggested that the Memory Matrix is useful for assessing student recall and comprehension in courses with high information content, such as courses in the natural sciences, foreign languages, music theory, history, or the law. It is best used after a lesson, lecture, or reading that focuses on a substantial amount of clearly categorized information. This kind of matrix can also be used, however, as a pre-instructional assessment (p. 33).

Consequently, memory matrix is can be used to:

  • To help students recall essential content,
  • To have students develop the skill of organizing information into categories,
  • To see not only whether students have memorized the necessary information, but also how well they can recall new content, and how effectively they organized it

Statistical Inference – Point – Interval Estimation


Several works of literature reviewed for this work based their study on the work of Cross and Angelo; on Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for Faculty. Before exploring the procedure for developing a memory matrix. It is important to review the general guidelines for choosing a classroom assessment technique as suggested by the authors.

  1. Don’t try any technique that doesn’t appeal to your intuition and your experienced judgment as a teacher.
  2. Don’t make self-assessment into a self-inflicted chore or burden.
  3. Do choose techniques that will benefit both you and your students.
  4. Don’t ask your students to use any technique you haven’t previously tried yourself.
  5. Do remember that administering an assessment technique and analyzing the feedback will probably take twice as long as you estimate.


The development/designing of the memory matrix is completely a pre-class activity (Planning) and requires a great deal of effort from the classroom teacher to ensure the effectiveness of the instrument. Following the content of several works of literature, this work has deduced the following steps as the procedure to follow in the construction of the memory matrix.

  1. Content Analysis:

This is the first step; this requires the classroom teacher to identify the learning contents which is most fitting to be assessed using a memory matrix. This may base on a lecture, reading, or a discussion that was done in the class. Having identified the content to be assessed; the teacher goes on to draw the topics/subtopics from which the elements/tasks will be taken

  1. Construction of simple table/matrix:

This is a two-dimensional diagram used to organize and illustrate relationships between concepts/content of learning. The rows and columns show the useful variables for important information covered in the lesson, the row, and column headings are given, but the cells are left empty.

  1. Trial Testing

Complete the assessment task yourself (or ask a colleague to do it) to be sure that it is doable in the time you will allot for it. Fill in the blank cells yourself with the appropriate facts in the form of words and brief phrases covered during the lesson.Check to see that there is a good fit between row and column headings and the facts in the cells.

  1. Review of Instrument

Following the findings during the trial testing, the teacher makes the proper adjustment in the device to ensure that it fits with the duration/time allotted to it, the row and column headings fit with the facts in the cells. This review in some cases may not be necessary.

  1. Final Production

When the teacher is satisfied with the matrix, he draws a new one with only the row and column headings and spacious but empty cells. Duplicate this matrix on papers and gets them ready for administration. The teacher also at this stage decides on how to analyze the student’s response either by grouping them in such categories as “good understanding”, “some understanding”, “significant misunderstanding” etc.

Memory Matrix Showing Part of Speech in the English language          

Part of Speech Explanation(description) Examples
Noun Name of a person, animal, place, or thing.  
Pronoun   He, She, that, each, few, many. etc
Adverb A word that modifies a verb  
Preposition   Above, across, at, before, among. Etc

Memory Matrix Development and Application


The application of the memory matrix can be classified into two stages namely; in-class application and post-class application.

In-Class Application (Implementation)

  1. The teacher before beginning the class inform the students that there will be a form of assessment towards the end of the class. This disposition helps to prepare their minds ahead of time.
  2. The teacher gives students a blank handout at the start of class for the beginning, or middle, or end of the class session.
  3. The teacher direct students to provide the information needed to fill in the cells. Tell them how they should complete the table (individually or in groups) and how much time they have to complete it. Ask them to write only words or brief phrases. Set a realistic limit for the number of items you expect them to insert into each cell. .(Timmo, 2021).
  4. Collect the matrices

Post-Class Application (Responding)

  1. The teacher reviews the matrices and assesses the correctness and completeness of the information given.
  • Analysis: Scan the completed matrices and compare them to your key matrix. correct responses vs incorrect responses – focus on patterns in the responses.
  • Results: Record the number of each correct or incorrect response into an Excel spreadsheet (or any data management system) where data can be reported in a variety of methods. Look for common misconceptions or errors. This could indicate recall problems, difficultly categorizing information or insufficient teaching focus on a particular topic or category.
  1. Provide feedback/grade based on the quality of the matrices, Discuss the results of the activity at the next class meeting, and clear misconceptions (Timmo, 2021).

Educational Data or Levels of Measurement

MEMORY MATRIX DATA ANALYSES                                                                                              

To analyze the data in the matrix cells, one needs to count the number of instances (frequencies) of correct items in each cell, then search for significant differences in total and average numbers of correct responses. It’s also a good idea to concentrate on the wrong or marginal items by tallying them and looking for patterns.

one can also look for trends in student performance: who performed well and who performed poorly? If there are apparent imbalances in terms of numbers of things in cells on student matrices that do not present on the teacher’s own, it could suggest a failure to recall or categorize specific sorts of objects, or that less training or study time was spent to particular categories of material.


In a situation where a teacher chooses to adapt and extend a memory matrix classroom assessment technique, the following ideas may be put into practice by the teacher.

  1. Provide a matrix with missing elements other than the cell contents. Leave out one column heading, for example, but provide some cell information to serve as a clue to the identity of the missing column heading.
  2. Allow students to work in pairs or groups to fill in the matrix, providing a bit more time for the task.
  3. Fill in the matrix as a whole-class review by drawing the matrix on the chalkboard, eliciting the missing information from the class, and filling it in as you go.
  4. Ask a student or students to take notes, or write in the elicited information on the chalkboard or on overhead projector transparency, and then assess it later.


  • Start with rather simple matrices, preferably no larger than two-by-two (rows by columns) two-by-three, or three-by-three.
  • Provide enough space in the cells for a larger number of items than you expect.
  • Give students a realistic lower limit for the number of items you hope they’ll insert in each cell, but avoid giving an upper limit.


  • It allows the teacher to assess not only how many facts the students can recall about a lesson, but whether they understand relationships among those facts and
    can correctly categorize them.
  • It produces a bare minimum of written information, so it’s quick to read and


  • By providing row and column headings, the matrix precludes the students from using their categorizing schemes. This means the teacher may not find out if some students do indeed have different ways of organizing and storing information covered in the course.
  • With very basic categories and information, it may be difficult to determine whether student answers represent what they’ve learned in the course or their pre-existing background knowledge.

Correlation Coefficient for One – Two Samples In Hypothesis Testing

Implications for practitioners

This study has identified several implications of memory matrix in the classroom in the area of research, measurement, and evaluation as discussed below.

The use of the memory matrix in classroom assessment is formative. Unlike summative/final examinations, the memory matrix furnishes the teacher and students with immediate feedback on student learning while the teaching/learning relationship is still intact, creating the atmosphere for the teacher’s intervention during the term to help students learn more completely.

The importance of immediate feedback in the assessment of learners cannot be overemphasized. The midcourse feedback at the classroom level, especially if it is repeated at regular intervals, helps both students and teachers clarify their goals and assess progress toward them.

Bloom’s taxonomy for the cognitive domain which knows its lowest level can be assessed using a memory matrix. Hence, the techniques assess what students recall and have understood about the subject matter presented in a lecture, reading assignment, series of classes, or other course activity. In a normal class test, the teacher would use verbs such as mention, define, state, name, match to test this level of the cognitive domain.

The anonymous response of students to the memory matrix is yet another practical significance of the technique in the area of ethical considerations in measurement and evaluation. The aim of classroom assessment is not necessarily to grade individual student work or to provide individual students with feedback on their performance; rather, the aim is to provide the instructor with feedback on student learning. Anonymity may prove useful in freeing students to express not only what they do understand but also what they do not understand.

The role of diagnostic assessment is adequately played by using a memory matrix to diagnose the students’ needs, problems, weaknesses, and strengths. This helps in putting more strategies on teaching and learning depending on assessment results. The memory matrix, therefore, shows the extent to which students have understood the taught materials.

Finally, knowledge of what students know is indispensable for decision-making and judgment about the effectiveness of educational programmes. Memory matrix as an assessment tool is forward-looking- in this vein, it plays a vital role in ensuring that evaluation of student’s learning at the end of an instructional sequence proves the educational programme fruitful and worthwhile.

Conclusion on Memory Matrix Development and Application                                                                                  

This work, therefore, has explored the proper procedures for the development and application of the techniques by the classroom teacher, and finally, the practical implication of the study on the area of measurement and evaluation. The use of classroom assessment techniques has been revealed as the quickest means to obtain feedback about the student’s learning.

This opposes the usual end-of-the-course examination which does not create room for improvement of the learner. In conclusion, Memory matrix as a classroom assessment technique is used by the teacher to assess the knowledge level of the cognitive domain according to Bloom’s taxonomy; hence the teacher while using this instrument intends to assess the simple recall of learning and the matching of the possible relationship among the facts presented.

RECOMMENDATIONS on Memory Matrix Development and Application

The following recommendations are made by this work;

  1. The classroom teacher should ensure that feedback is given to the students about their response to the instrument, again, the misconceptions of the students should be cleared. This recommendation is made out of the fear that the teacher may administer this technique without analyzing it or revisiting the outcome.
  2. The school administrations should raise a very important campaign targeting the classroom teachers on the need for the use of classroom assessment techniques. The fact that our school systems (especially the private schools) are filled with choiceless teachers who joined the profession due to job scarcity in the country has raised the need for this campaign. This is because the majority of them have limited knowledge of these techniques.


Angelo, T. A., & Cross, K. P. (1993). Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers (2nd Ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Behlol M. G. (2010). Concept of Learning. International Journal of Psychological Studies Vol.2, No. 2;

Brown, D. H. (2013).Language assessment: Principles and classroom practices. London: Longman

Centre for Innovative Teaching and Learning (2021). Examples of Classroom Assessment Techniques.

Duchesne, S., McMaugh, A., Bochner, S., & Krause, K.-L. (2013). Educational psychology for learning and teaching (4th ed.). South Melbourne, Australia: Cengage Learning.

Facione, P. (2011). Think critically. Boston, MA: Prentice Hall

Nworgu, B.G. (2015). Measurement and Evaluation: Theory and Practice (Revised and enlarged edition). Nsukka: Universal Trust Publishers

Timmo, D.(2021). memory matrix, prior knowledge, active learning, classroom. Fall 2021 Instructional Resources. URL:

Walker D-M. (2012). Classroom Assessment Techniques: An Assessment and Student Evaluation Method. Creative Education Vol.3, Special Issue, 903-907 DOI:10.4236/ce.2012.326136

Victoria, S. (2011) Assessing classroom assessment techniques. Active Learning in Higher Education. 12(2) 125–132. DOI: 10.1177/1469787411402482

Yambi, T. (2020). Assessment And Evaluation In Education. Retrieved from IN_EDUCATION

Yousef, A. (2016) Assessment Techniques and Students’ Higher-Order Thinking Skills. International Journal of Secondary Education. Vol. 4(1) 1-11. doi:10.11648/j.ijsedu.20160401.11

Memory Matrix Development and Application

Extensive Review on Program Theory


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