Looking at Student Work
Looking at Student Work

beyond the basics

QMark Questions


Varieties of Questions in Protocols: An Overview

All of the protocols and processes for looking collaboratively at student work involve questions. These questions function on a number of levels, often simultaneously.
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1. Protocols are employed to help answer large questions about teaching and learning; these are sometimes called "research questions" or "inquiry questions." A group might go through several -- even a year's worth of -- protocols addressing the same question. Examples: How can we support students to become reflective problem solvers? What are the learning benefits of writing in math?

2.Teachers often have more specific, though still large, "focusing questions" that guide individual protocols, especially in the Tuning Protocol and Consultancy. Participants strive to address the focusing question with their own questions and feedback. Examples: How is the rubric for this assignment reflected in the student work? What evidence do you see of students' research skills here?
See more focusing questions.

3.Within protocols, participants ask a wide range of questions, from "clarifying questions" to "probing questions." Clarifying questions typically seek "nuts-and-bolts" information about the project. Example: How much time does the project take? How were the children grouped? Probing questions typically ask for deeper, more reflective responses from the presenter. Example: How does your belief about writing influence your students' work on this project?

Read a list of criteria, construction tips and examples of probing questions.

4.Feedback to the presenting teacher often comes in the form of questions. Example: "I wonder what would happen if students were involved in developing the rubric"

5. Usually at the end of a protocol, the participants use reflection questions to consider what they have learned about the process of LSW itself. Examples: "What worked well?" "Did the conversation move us closer to our goals? If so, how?"
Read more about the process of reflection.

6.There are also the facilitator's questions--sometimes asked by other participants--that help keep protocols focused and push for greater depth. Example: "What do you see in this child's work that makes you say it's more creative?"