Skip to 0 minutes and 14 secondsANDREA: Rich questions are questions that cannot be answered immediately, but require the student to work on a series of smaller questions or activities before they return to having a go at answering it. Rich questions support students in expressing and discussing their thinking, thus enabling teachers to explore issues that are critical to the development of students' understanding.

Skip to 0 minutes and 35 secondsTEACHER: Have a little think for me. And I want you to pretend that you're going on a desert island on your own. So you're not taking anybody with you, it's just you. It's going to be really, really hot. And you're only allowed to take three things with you. And I want you to have a think what three things would you take with you to help you survive for that week on your desert island? Just have a little think. When I count down from five, then I want you to talk to the person next to you. Five, four, three, two, one. Right, have a little chat in your groups-- I mean, your partners.

Skip to 1 minute and 11 secondsAnd I want you to share with the person next to you what would you take with you if you were going on a desert island for a week. You could only take three things. [INDISTINCT CONVERSATIONS]

Classroom example: rich questions

Over the next few steps we explore simple and easy to implement ways we can use questions to improve the quality of the evidence we collect. These simple approaches if used well can increase the quality of our in class assessments and help us respond more effectively.

Questioning is a key tool in formative classrooms and we go into much greater depth regarding effective practice with exemplification of the different purposes of questioning in our accompanying Introducing Assessment for Learning course.

Rich questions

Black and Harrison (2004) describe a rich question as “one that cannot be answered immediately, but requires the learner to work on a series of smaller questions or activities before they return to have an attempt at answering it.”

Rich questioning encourages reflection on experience, and challenges learners’ beliefs and attitudes about the subject, about themselves, and about learning. They support students in expressing and discussing their thinking, thus enabling teachers to explore issues that are critical to the development of students’ understanding.

Create

Your task here is to create a rich question. Post your rich question in the comments below.

After you have posted, take a look at one or two other questions. Reply with constructive feedback on whether the question can be changed to develop opportunities for learning. You can use one of the examples pinned to the top of the discussion if you prefer.

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This video is from the free online course:

Planning for Learning: Formative Assessment

National STEM Learning Centre