Questioning is integral to assessment for learning

Questioning is integral to assessment for learning. It is used to ascertain what the students know and then to teach accordingly (Ausubel 1978). Through effective questioning, the teacher identifies gaps in knowledge and understanding. With the use of scaffolding, the teacher then closes the gap between what the student knows and the learning objectives. For teaching to be effective, higher order questions should be asked. These require students to actively process information which leads to deep level learning. By regularly utilising high order questions (analysing, synthesising and evaluating), students’ level of achievement is raised since students are required to use what they know and extend their knowledge and understanding.

Bloom suggested that students need knowledge before understanding and need to understand before applying the knowledge. Lower order questions skills (knowledge, comprehension and application) are needed before students can analyse and criticise. Synthesis by creating new understanding is achieved by combining different kinds of knowledge. Then students can evaluate which is the highest order. This process of moving between stages requires complex thinking. Students are aided with scaffolding questions by lowering the order of the question to go back to their previous knowledge and then building up again.

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