Checking for Comprehension

Checking for students' understanding of important ideas and concepts helps instructors gauge what students are comprehending, and what more they might need to work on. It also provides useful feedback to help teachers plan ways to better meet students' needs.

Instructors who check for understanding usually feel more connected to their students' learning and have a better sense of what to expect from their students.

It is essential that students practice doing it right. It is the teacher's responsibility to know that students understand the concept before proceeding from the modeling portion of the lesson to the practice. If there is any doubt that the class has not understood, the concept/skill should be re-taught before practice begins.

Below, Ani uses a strategy called Tap and Read. In this strategy, students read silently until the teacher approaches and taps on the shoulder, at which time they begin to whisper read so the teacher can hear. This helps target certain students who may require extra attention and gives her the opportunity to check reading progress and comprehension.

In the next clip, Ani uses a strategy whereby students are monitoring each other to check for comprehension. Students respond to a partner who react to a specific part of the story. Notice how students remain highly engaged in this task and enjoy the opportunity to talk with a neighbor about their reactions to the story.

Good to know! Teachers can use a variety of questions types including nonverbal comprehension checks such as "raise your hand," "thumbs up for 'yes' ,"thumbs down for 'no'."