When teachers look at independent work, homework, quizzes, or state test results to see if students learned…it’s too late to modify instruction.  Checking for Understanding (CFU) is the teacher continually verifying that students are learning what is being taught while it is being taught. Using CFU in “real-time” allows teachers to make crucial instructional decisions, like “it’s time to re-teach!” during lesson delivery.

In a classroom-based experiment, a group of teachers were asked to increase the number of factual questions and process questions during guided practice. The results of this experiment showed that students who had these teachers achieved higher scores than students whose teachers did not ask multiple questions. Teachers who asked a large number of questions also had higher student participation and reported that they were able to assess if the students understood the content, then make modifications of the lesson or reteach when necessary.

Here is a sample of some of the checks for understanding we learn and use in our Explicit Direct Instruction Institutes.  (See the Training Calendar to see when an Institute is coming up.)

·        Tell the answer to a neighbor

·        Summarize the main idea in one or two sentences, writing the summary on a piece of paper and sharing it with a neighbor

·        Write an answer on a card and then hold it up

·        Raise a hands to indicate agreement with an answer someone else has given

How can Checking for Understanding help you in your classroom?