Idea #3 and a follow up on Idea #1

A slightly more prompt evaluation today.

First of all, a follow up to idea #1 (marking every day). I handed back the marked work to the students with accompanying colour coded tasks to develop/ improve the work from the previous lesson. Every student immediately set about their tasks and – amazingly – it took them the same amount of time to finish them. Even the most able in the class who usually whizz through work were beavering away at the tricky question that they had been set. It was a great way to start the lesson and I am very happy with the outcomes.

Using the colour coded paper and stapling it to their work (echoing @kohlmand’s Purple Pages of Progress) is also a great visual clue for both myself and the students too. I will definitely keep doing this with my GCSE classes and adapt it to fit the marking schedule of the Year 9 classes I teach.

Idea #3: Hinge Questions

An idea developed by Harry Fletcher-Wood, suggested by Joe Kirby and originally taken (I think) from master of AfL himself Dylan Wiliam. The concept of a hinge question is a question with multiple answers which should take no longer than 2 minutes for all students to respond to. It should signal to the teacher where misconceptions lie, thereby allowing the teacher to address these misconceptions before they bed in.

Harry Fletcher-Wood has a very detailed process to develop hinge questions using theories based in cognitive science. His process can be found here and produces some really interesting ideas. I really liked his process but, knowing very little about cognitive science, felt that I would take a less scientific approach to these as I would like to research it further. However, I took his idea of thinking about what you want the students to think about when answering the questions as a guide.

I produced three sets of questions: one to use as a starter before continuing with a topic and two to use at different points in lessons. They were for a Year 11 and two Year 9 classes.

Year 9 question: students responded by holding up coloured cards corresponding to their answers.


  1. It was a great way of seeing who understood and grasped the topics and, more importantly, identifying those who didn’t.
  2. It offered time in the lesson to directly address these misconceptions.
  3. In offering ‘difficult’ or obscure questions/ answers it challenged students to think about the topic carefully.


  1. It took AGES to think of questions and answers, although these can be repeated once made.
  2. It is really hard to think of them! Definitely a challenging task for the teacher. This is good in a way but was not great at 7.00 a.m. this morning.

Will I use this again? Definitely. As Harry details in his blog, I hope this skill will develop and refine over time, particularly as I read up on the subject of cognitive science and how it can be applied in teaching.

That’s 3 new ideas that have been successful: feeling very positive about the challenge at the moment!


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