It hinges on this question….

What is hinge questioning?

Hinge questioning can be used by a teacher to quickly find out whether learners have understood the lesson content. Learners are offered a multiple-choice question about the topic being taught, and as well as the correct answer, the question also contains alternative incorrect answers, which usually include the typical misconceptions learners might have about the topic. Teachers should expect a quick response from each learner so that they can quickly gauge the level of understanding. This could be done in a variety of ways:

  • Hold fingers up to indicate 1,2,3, or 4
  • Hold up numbered/lettered cards
  • Small whiteboards
  • Electronic voting systems
  • Class or peer discussion

Good hinge questions require the teacher to consider fully the main idea that they are teaching and then anticipate what the misconceptions may be in their learning group.

Examples of hinge questions

Image Credit NCCE

Hinge questions lend themselves to questions about the practical aspects of computing and be really helpful to assess learner understanding of different concepts. If you would like to create your own hinge questions, think carefully about any misconceptions learners may have and the kind of incorrect answers they may lean toward in their responses. Some useful websites to visit:

  • Computing at School – a list of several common misconceptions in a range of topics
  • BBC Bitesize – a set of hinge questions relating to computational thinking
  • Diagnostic Questions – offers a number of free multiple choice questions across many subjects
  • SecEd – a comprehensive article exploring hinge questioning in the secondary classroom

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