How to Check for Understanding in the Classroom: Strategies

Instructor: Derek Hughes
Checking for understanding is an important part of teaching that helps you determine whether your students are learning what they need to. This lesson will detail some strategies you can use to check for understanding in your classroom.

Checking for Understanding

As you move through the day teaching the various lessons and activities you have written, it is important to check for understanding. Checking for understanding is the process through which a teacher determines if students are learning and understanding the things being taught to them.

Checking for understanding is critical to the teaching process to help you determine whether you can move on or must spend more time on a certain topic. The strategies detailed in this lesson will help you check for understanding in your classroom and improve student learning.

Strategies to Check for Understanding

In order to ensure that your teaching is effective and that students in your classroom are learning, you are going to have to check for understanding at several points during your lessons. This can take many different forms and doesn't necessarily mean you have to stop your lessons. Whichever strategy you use, it's important to take the information you gain and use it to adjust your teaching.

1. The first strategy you can use to check for understanding is a simple question and answer method. While in the middle of teaching a lesson, stop for a few minutes to ask your students several questions about the material they are learning. If you find that many students are unable to answer your questions, you should adjust your instruction to ensure all students understand the information.

Questioning can be extended and adjusted to fit many different situations. For example, you can have your students write down several questions and pass their paper to someone else to answer the questions. After students complete the exercise, engage them in a short discussion about the kinds of questions and answers they saw. This will give you a good indication of where your students are in their understanding.

You can also engage your class in a longer classroom discussion to gauge how well they are learning the lesson. A class discussion is a good way to help students solidify, explain, and expand upon topics they are learning. As long as everyone is contributing and respectful, class discussions can be a good indicator of student understanding.

2. Checking for understanding can also come in the form of a short quiz. A quiz can be given at any point during a lesson and can provide you with valuable information about student learning. Quizzes should always be written by you, the teacher, and only pertain to the material currently being taught. By giving a quiz, you can collect a small bit of data about how well students are learning the current material.

3. Students can also keep a journal in which they respond to questions at the beginning of each period. By reading through these journals, you can see how students are progressing in their learning and determine if you need to adjust your teaching or continue on the same path. Reading student journals can also give you an overall picture of how a unit or series of lessons went, to see if changes need to be made for the following year.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Free 5-day trial

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create an account