Matched Pairs

Item description: 

This activity employs a self-assessment which prompts students to rate their actions, level of understanding, opinions, or ability. Students are presented with sets of polar opposites, or divergent statements and are asked to rate where they are on a continuum between either end.

Examples of statements:

  • I prefer fiction...I prefer non-fiction
  • I read the directions to the lab before starting...I jump right in to the lab without reading the directions
  • I have a clear understanding of [------]...I have no understanding of [------]
  • I think I have mastered [-----]...I need more practice on [-----]
  • I agree with the PRO side...I agree with the CON side
  • I could draw a diagram of [-----] showing all the interrelationships and causes and effects...I do not understand the interrelationships or causes and effects



  1. Create a set of topic related, paired statements. The attached document may be used as a template for those topical statements.
  2. Distribute the self-assessment to the class. Explain your directions and make your expectations clear to students. On the dotted line in-between the statements, students should place an X showing where they are currently along a continuum between the two ends. Encourage students to respond honestly and quickly.
  3. Once the students have completed the worksheet, discuss the statements and the experience with the students. An interesting way to process the results is to ask them to identify areas where their actual responses were most different from where they would prefer them to be. “Outlier” data is often the most interesting to discuss.
  4. After gathering and reviewing student responses, you will be able to make the appropriate adjustments to your instruction.


Classroom Management

  • To ensure honest responses, inform your students that their responses will not being graded.
  • Before beginning, check with students to be sure that they are clear about how the Matched Pairs process works.


Interdisciplinary Connections

English – Matched Pairs can be used to assess students’ level of understanding about various punctuation rules.

Science – This activity can be used to assess students’ perceived ability to conduct common laboratory procedures.



This activity assesses students’ prior knowledge or opinions and is used mostly to inform your instruction.


Preparation time: 45 / Delivery time: 30

PDF icon Matched Pairs722.42 KB