Critical Incident Questionnaires

The CIQ is a simple classroom evaluation tool used to check-in with how students are faring in the learning environment, while also modeling how to think and speak critically and democratically from their own experiences.

When to Use

Formative assessment, difficult or charged moments in class, wellness check-ins, adaptive just-in-time teaching, signposting students to support services

How to Use

The CIQ is a helpful tool to use because it allows the faculty member to pause the class and invite students into reflection by stating, “Something has shifted in this space, and I’d like us all to take some time to reflect.” 

The faculty member can then ask students to answer one, two, or all CIQ questions and turn them in. In online classes, this can be done as an email to the professor. (In face-to-face classrooms, these can be anonymous papers.) In both scenarios, students are given time to reframe their reactions to a particular issue in relation to their own identities and who they are as learners.

Instructions: Please take about five minutes to respond to the questions below about this week’s class. Don’t put your name on the form – your responses are anonymous. If nothing comes to mind for any of the questions just leave the space blank. At the next class we will share the group’s responses with all of you. Thanks for taking the time to do this. What you write will help us make the class more responsive to your concerns. 


  • At what moment in class this week did you feel most engaged with what was happening? 
  • At what moment in class this week were you most distanced from what was happening? 
  • What action that anyone (teacher or student) took this week did you find most affirming or helpful? 
  • What action that anyone took this week did you find most puzzling or confusing? 
  • What about the class this week surprised you the most? (This could be about your own reactions to what went on, something that someone did, or anything else that occurs).