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formative assessment

Hinge questions hub

Which of the following is true?  A hinge question is…

a) A powerful formative assessment tool
b) A sophisticated way to use multiple choice questions
c) A useful way to elicit evidence of students’ achievement
d) A way to read students’ minds

Answers a-c certainly, and I’d make a claim that hinge questions are the nearest to mind-reading a teacher can achieve with a whole class.

This page collects everything I’ve done on hinge questions and has links to others working on hinge questions, which I’ll aim to keep up to date.

Blog posts

1) Introducing hinge questions – What are hinge questions?  How do they work?
2) Hinge questions in history – How do hinge questions work in humanities teaching?
3) 28 history hinge questions – (not all very good and in need of refinement)
4) Refining my construction of hinge questions – How should hinge questions be designed?
5) Revisiting hinge questions – (reflections on their use & a brief snippet of video)


What are they really thinking?  The closest you’ll get to mind reading in the classroom – a presentation introducing hinge questions delivered for the Brilliant Club, May 2014.

Underlying evidence

Haladyna, T., Downing, S. and Rodriguez, M. (2002). A Review of Multiple-Choice Item-Writing Guidelines for Classroom Assessment. Applied Measurement in Education, 15(3), pp.309-333.

This paper reviews the evidence on formulating multiple-choice questions to offer thirty-one guidelines and a discussion of the research underlying some of the more disputed aspects.

Wylie, C. and Wiliam, D. (2007), ‘Analyzing diagnostic items: What makes a student response interpretable?’, paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME), Chicago, IL, April 2006.

Caroline Wylie and Dylan Wiliam discuss the the criteria for creating an effective multiple-choice question based on the cognitive rules students are following.

Hinge questions in different subjects

Teachers who have wrestled with hinge question design in specific subjects:
English: Joey Bagstock
Geography: Simon Renshaw, Liz Bentley-Patterson
History: Paula Lobo Worth
Maths: Nik Doran, Terry Tao
Religious Studies: Dawn Cox
Science: Damian Benney, Darren Mead, York Science (and see also the AAAS collection of student misconceptions).

Using hinge questions

This post by Doug Lemov explains how Brian Belanger ensures students truly benefit from the hinge question.

Rob McEntarffer shows how a hinge question can be combined with discussion to check and ensure student understanding, and quantifies the impact they had in one class.

If you come across other good resources, please let me know so I can add them.

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