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Skip to 0 minutes and 4 secondsThe preceding activities and any reading around the subject that you've done should have served to show you the ropes with hinge point questions. You've reviewed a batch of 15 quite widely drawn questions, and you've decided which would work as hinge point questions and which would be more suited to stimulating constructive dialogue and making students think. You may have been surprised at the extent to which your own consideration of a question made you yourself think quite deeply about the underlying ideas to which the question relates, almost forcing you to become more secure in your knowledge of an aspect of your subject.

Skip to 0 minutes and 38 secondsThus, devising or reviewing questions on your own, or even better with colleagues, can be a great way to develop your own subject knowledge, at the same time ensuring that you're teaching does the same for your students. You've also reviewed and discussed some excerpts of teaching sequences by our courageous colleagues from Aston Academy in Sheffield and St. Matthias Church of England Primary School in Malvern. In doing this, you probably noticed that a key element in successful use of hinge point questions is thorough preparation. The next step in the course is for you to devise some hinge point questions of your own and to peer review those of other course participants.

The story so far

In this video Dylan summarises our treatment of hinge-point questions to date.

Dylan highlights the way in which devising a hinge-point question forces teachers to think deeply about the underlying maths or science to which the question relates.

The next step in the course is for you to write some hinge-point questions and to peer review those of other learners.

Updated: To summarise the message from the earlier steps: Hinge-point questions are designed to help the teacher to check on learning, at a point where they feel most students have developed the necessary conceptual understanding, so that they can decide what to do next.

A hinge-point question is a brief item of formative assessment which enables the teacher to know whether it is appropriate to move on, to briefly recap, or completely re-teach, a concept before moving on – what Dylan calls the most important decision a teacher has to make on a regular basis. Typically hinge-point questions:

  1. Have wrong answers that match the most common student misconceptions or alternative conceptions;
  2. Are difficult for a student to get the correct answer(s) with the wrong reasoning or knowledge;
  3. Are quick to answer (in less than two minutes, and ideally in less than one minute);
  4. Allow the teacher to realistically view and interpret all students’ responses in 30 seconds or less and so will often be in multiple choice format.

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This video is from the free online course:

Assessment for Learning in STEM Teaching

National STEM Learning Centre

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