9 Strategies for Checking for Student Understanding

9 Strategies for Checking for Student Understanding

How do you determine if the students have learned what you want them to?

One important aspect of teaching is making sure the information is getting through, processed, retained and understood. There are ways of finding out if they have learned anything from your efforts. The first consideration is to set up Collaborative Pairs in your classroom. Collaborative Pairs is the base grouping and organizational tool for classroom use where students are paired for the purposes of engaging their thinking about the lesson and monitoring their understanding. You can monitor pairs and make reasonable determinations regarding which students understand, which students need additional support, and which students are not understanding.

Using Collaborative Pairs, especially when used purposefully with Numbered Heads, provides both teachers and students a way to check for understanding. Talking about what they learning allows students to reflect, process, practice, clarify, and retain new information. Begin by pairing students that collaborate well together and increase active engagement. When creating pairs, it has been found that the most effective ability pairings are: High-middle, middle-middle and middle-low. Use Collaborative Pairs consistently and pervasively, especially during large group instruction. Students become actively engaged in the learning process, which research has shown is critical for success. As you are teaching, check for understanding by briefly pausing your lesson several times and using collaborative pairs. This strategy will get your students to say or do something with the information they are just learning.

Lindsey Hampton

During her 20+years as an educator, Lindsey served various grade levels and subject areas. For 8 years she led inclusive classrooms and taught advanced placement courses. Following her classroom years, Lindsey spent 10 years as an instructional coach, professional development specialist, and district administrator of new teacher induction. She has presented at numerous conferences, including the Florida Association of School Administrator Conference, the Tennessee Principals Association Conference, and the Kentucky Association of School Administrators. Today, she works directly with teachers and school leaders in the implementation of the Learning-Focused Instructional Framework.

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