Formative assessment – Checking for misconceptions

Misconception tool for science

An interactive tool for exploring, sharing, and challenging common misconceptions in the science classroom.


Using diagnostic questions prior to the learning

Diagnostic questions are designed to help identify, and crucially understand students’ mistakes and misconceptions prior to the learning.

Hinge point questions

Characteristics of hinge point questions:

  • a hinge is a point in a lesson when you need to check if students are ready to move on, and if yes, in which direction;
  • a hinge-point question is a diagnostic question that you ask your students when you reach the hinge, responses to which give you evidence about what you and your students need to do next.

Dylan Wiliam

Using concept cartoons for assessment

Concept Cartoons can be used at the beginning or part way through a unit of work to:

  • gain an indication of the range of students’ ideas within the class;
  • identify areas of misconception;
  • stimulate starting points for investigations;
  • offer challenges that may lead to restructuring of ideas.

NAPLAN questions

NAPLAN questions have been designed to include common misconceptions (like diagnostic questions). Can be used prior to or during the learning.

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