Analytic Memo (classroom)

This KB document is part of a larger collection of documents on active learning.
More Active Learning documents

Process for facilitating an Analytic Memo activity in a classroom

Time and Effort

Instructor Prep TimeHigh
Student Activity TimeHigh
Instructor Response TimeHigh
Complexity of ActivityHigh


Analytic Memo requires students to write a one- or two-page analysis of a problem. Students analyze an issue using discipline-specific approaches and methods and create a compelling argument for a specific audience. The recipient of the memo is usually a stakeholder in need of the student’s analysis to inform their decision making.


Use is when you want...

  • To have students develop their ability to analyze problems using discipline-specific approaches and methods,
  • To provide feedback to students on their analytic and communication skills, or
  • To assess students’ abilities to communicate their analyses clearly and concisely to a specific audience.

What students will need

  • No special requirements for this approach.


The following workflow is meant as guidance for how you can facilitate Analytic Memo learning activity within a classroom.


  • Determine which analytic approaches or methods are to be assessed.
  • Identify an appropriate, well-focused, and typical problem or situation for the students to analyze.
  • Get background information on the problem.
  • Define the recipient, subject, and purpose of the memo.
  • Decide the technology students will use to write the memo and set up the technology space, if necessary.
  • Decide whether students will work alone, in pairs, or small groups.
  • Create an example memo on the subject to share with students.
  • Create a template of the memo students will use to complete the assignment using Google Docs.
  • Provide written directions to be handed out during class.


  • Specify the student’s role, the identity of the audience, the specific subject to be addressed. Identify the analytic approach students will use, the length limit (usually one or two pages), and the assignment deadline.
  • Set up students into groups. 
  • Share an example memo and explain to students how this assessment can help prepare them for subsequent course assignments and their careers.
  • If students are to work on the document in class, give them time to do so. If students are to work on the document outside of class, tell them when the memo is due.


  • Collect and review memos.
  • Provide feedback/grade based on the quality of the analysis and communication displayed in the memo.
  • Discuss the results of the activity at the next class meeting.

Accessibility and Room Considerations

Technical Documentation


Angelo, Thomas A., and K. Patricia Cross. Classroom Assessment Techniques: a Handbook for College Teachers. Jossey-Bass, 1993. pp. 177-180.

See Also:

Keywords:analytic memo, analytics, critical thinking, active learning, classroom   Doc ID:104105
Owner:Timmo D.Group:Center for Teaching, Learning & Mentoring
Created:2020-07-17 10:32 CSTUpdated:2021-09-01 07:19 CST
Sites:Center for Teaching, Learning & Mentoring
Feedback:  0   0