Skip to content

Indicator 48 – Checks for Understanding

Interacting With Students

Providing Feedback

Indicator 48 - Checks for Understanding UETS 2e., 5c., 7b., 7c.

Effective teachers periodically check for student understanding of the content of a lesson in order to adjust pace and clarity of their presentations. Unless you check for understanding, it is difficult to know exactly what students are getting out of the lesson. Research suggests it is important to identify and confront misconceptions that can interfere with learning.


  1. Check for understanding through:
  • Students
fingers, 3-2-1/fist to five/thumbs up thumbs down
  • A posted scale that can be used either as a quick check with hand or a numerical value for students to self-assess on a written assignment
  • Questions
  • Brief written exercises that are immediately corrected
  • Choral responses
  • Brief demonstrations by students of what was just presented
  • Discussion and review groups.
  • Think, pair, share
  • White boards to respond
  • Electronic surveying devices that give instant feedback and data
  1. You cannot successfully check for student understanding by:
  • Asking few questions.
  • Calling exclusively on volunteers.
  • Asking "Are there any questions?"
  1. Ask frequent questions either about the material or about other students' responses to help stay in touch with the class's level of understanding.
  • Teacher: After reading the chapter last night, can you name three signers of the Declaration of Independence, [Wait 3-5 seconds.] Bonnie?
  • Bonnie: John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin
  • Teacher: What do you think about Bonnie's answer, Alex?
  1. Collect student assignments daily or take frequent quizzes.
  2. Walk around the room during instruction to monitor student understanding.
  3. Encourage students to check answers with their neighbors.
  4. At the end of a lesson, write the main points on the board, and have students discuss the points in small groups.

Back to Table of Contents