Hinge questions

Also known as: hinge-type questions, hinge point questions, checkpoint questions, diagnostic questions

multiple choice questions, adaptive questioning

The purpose of a hinge question is to reveal what the learner understands in a very unambiguous way. Answers to hinge questions identify what misconceptions dominate particular ideas/concepts/items of learning and student responses indicate what they need to do next. Hinge questions are easily designed as multiple choice but can also be more open-ended in nature. There are no grading levels or marks because what matters most is a quick reveal of student understanding so that any move forward in the learning program ‘hinges’ upon student thinking.

 

If the teacher had just taught rhetorical devices, he/she might ask the following: which of these is alliteration?


A. The golden disc of the sun burned.
B. The sizzling summer sun smiled sweetly.
C. I felt the red hot sun on my back.
D. The trees swayed gently in the wind.

 

Students hold up the card on their device with their answer simultaneously.

Hinge questions

ICT templates

Learning activity templates

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Make sure you are logged into your Microsoft or Google account before accessing these templates. For more support refer to Getting started with technology.

How to use with ICT

Online, hinge questions can be designed as concept-sampling polls, as diagnostic multiple choice using branching or as algorithm-based adaptive testing questions.

Single computer

Plickers is an application where students are given a paper card with four possible responses. Each student holds up their response and the teacher scans the room with their device’s camera. Questions must be multiple choice and all responses are captured in real time on the web application. The teacher can develop an analysis of possible responses in advance, using the Word/Docs hinge question template below.

External resources

Find out more resources
Title Link Description
Dylan Wiliam on effective questioning in the classroom, a podcast interview by Jo Earp Dylan Wiliam on effective questioning Interview with Emeritus Professor Wiliam about the benefits of planning a lesson around checkpoints known as hinge questions. Available as a podcast or transcript.
Teaching practice: Hinge questions by Matt Bromley Teaching practice: Hinge questions Matt Bromley looks at how to make multiple-choice, hinge questions work in classrooms and in teaching.
Building hinge-point questions into your day-to-day teaching is an article by the UK based National STEM Learning Centre  Building hinge-point questions This article uses eight key questions to create a procedure for implementing hinge-point questions as part of a daily teaching routine. The questions are effectively mapped in a diagram that can be downloaded as a separate PDF.
Hinge questions hub is a dedicated resource collection, written and collated by Harry Fletcher-Wood  Hinge questions hub This webpage collects everything that Harry Fletcher-Woods has written and recorded on hinge questions, as well as linking to the research work of professional peers in this area of formative assessment.

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Personalised learning

Disability, Learning and Support

When planning to use technology in the classroom it is important to consider the diversity of your learners. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework to guide the design of learning environments that are accessible and effective for all. For UDL guidelines, information and additional materials, visit the CAST website.

Many students require technology as an adjustment to support their access to learning. Adjustments (NESA) are actions taken that enable a student with disability and additional learning needs to access syllabus outcomes and content on the same basis as their peers. Enrol in the Personalised learning with technology online course to help you make more informed decisions regarding technology.

 

For a range of simple, how-to videos visit the Assistive Technology page on the Disability, Learning and Support website. Resources are organised into four sections; Literacy and Learning, Vision, Hearing, Physical and Motor Skills.

 

High potential and gifted learning and support

When planning to use technology in the classroom it is important to consider the full range of abilities of all learners. High potential and gifted learners may require additional adjustments and deliberate talent development.  These strategies include differentiation, grouping, enrichment and advanced learning pathways so students can be engaged, grow and achieve their personal best.

 

Assessing and identifying high potential and gifted learners will help teachers decide which students may benefit from extension and additional challenge. Effective strategies and contributors to achievement for high potential and gifted learners helps teachers to identify and target areas for growth and improvement. School leaders can access the Evaluation and Planning Tool to support strategic improvement planning.

 

Recognising the diversity of high potential and gifted students represented in classrooms across 4 domains of potential can be explored further by accessing illustrations of practice.

 

For further support and advice about how to tailor learning for high potential and gifted students from all backgrounds, visit the High Potential and Gifted Education web section, High Potential and Gifted Education Policy or attend one of the professional learning courses on offer.