This Modelling the Tools resource provides an instructional sequence designed to help students learn to frame effective, powerful questions. Within the context of preparing for a visit by a classroom guest, an interview, or a field trip, students brainstorm criteria for a powerful question and then use these criteria to evaluate the effectiveness of the generated questions. This whole-class experience prepares students for the task of independently generating questions.
This resource also models an assessment process for using formative assessment (assessment for learning) to support student learning and prepares students for success with summative assessment (assessment of learning). Sample feedback tools (See Sample #1 Student Self-Assessment Checklist: How powerful are my questions? and Sample #2 Student Self-Assessment Checklist: How powerful are my questions?) demonstrate how students might use the tools to clarify their thinking. These samples can be shared with students as exemplars to help them understand what is expected.
Assessment for learning takes place as students use the criteria to judge the effectiveness of their own questions on their own, with a peer and/or with teacher guidance. A Student Self-Assessment Checklist can be used to support students in working through the feedback process.
Following the feedback and revision stage, each student selects the two most powerful questions and provides the rationale for his or her choice. This can be used as assessment of learning. A Teacher Rubric can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the questions and student rationale.