Year 7

Science Support Materials

Science snapshot: Experimental methodology: Hinge question

Science/Science Inquiry Skills/Planning and conducting

Content Description Relevant aspects of the Achievement Standards

In fair tests, measure and control variables, and select equipment to collect data with accuracy appropriate to the task (ACSIS126)

Students plan fair experimental methods, identifying variables to be changed and measured.

Nature of the assessment

Teacher observation

Purposes of the assessment

To check students’ understanding of the concept of controlled, dependent and independent variables

Stage in the teaching sequence

Mid-point in a lesson


The teacher regularly used a formative assessment technique often referred to as hinge- or hinge-point questions. She would pose a question in the mid-point of a lesson and require that all students respond so that she knew who had and who hadn’t ‘got it.’

Assessment process

The teacher used the following question (taken from a WAMSE past test paper). The students moved to pre-allocated corners of the classroom to show if they had selected A, B, C or D. This allowed the teacher to very quickly ascertain the number of students who understood the concept.


Using the information

The teacher used the activity as teaching opportunity and had students explain to each other why B was the correct answer. She also noted the need to revisit the concept in the next part of the lesson.