Formative Assessment and Higher-Order Questions

Formative Assessment and Higher-Order Questions

The minute-by-minute, day-by-day kind of formative assessment that we’ve been blogging about is designed to elicit evidence of student learning — evidence that can be used to inform and adjust teaching to improve student learning.

We’ve blogged about several formative assessment strategies and techniques that work to engage the entire classroom, but one technique that takes time to master is that of student questioning. Good questioning should cause thinking (versus memorization and regurgitation) and engage students in discussion. Two such questions that Dylan Wiliam often refers to as examples do just that. With both of these questions, the answer may seem obvious, but with deeper thought you’ll see that in both cases the answer depends on perspective.

1. What does an upside down triangle look like?

2. In which year did World War II begin?

a. 1919

b. 1938

c. 1939

d. 1940

e. 1941

We’d love to hear your thoughts (and answers) on these questions and would really love to hear some higher order questions that you’ve seen create deep discussion and thought amongst students.